Repentance and opportunity
We always have the opportunity to feel God's replenishing love. We have the opportunity to understand God as the only basis of life. We have the opportunity to see infinite Spirit, God, continuously inspiring man and to prove that divine Truth excludes evil. We exist at the standpoint of infinite opportunity.
But we may need to rouse ourselves to the perception of this fact. The Old Testament describes such a change of thought: ''And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.'' n1
n1 Genesis 28:16
We have many opportunities each day to say this ourselves, to realize that divine Mind is endowing us with intelligence and usefulness, that infinite Spirit is equipping us with holiness and gentleness.
The act of waking up, or of deeply changing thought, involves repentance. Repentance sets us on the path of giving up selfish, fearful, limited, godless thinking and acting, and of adopting a spiritual concept of man - viewing him as the very image of God. God has done all things well. He has no need of repentance. But mortals do.
Christ Jesus graphically depicts the need of repentance in his parable of the prodigal son. n2 Greedy, sensual pleasure seeking had led the prodigal to a meaningless job - feeding swine. To the prodigal this appeared to be the only opportunity available. But was it? Sin had obscured his view of the opportunity at hand.
n2 See Luke 15:11-32
After suffering considerably at the hands of sin - the prodigal actually would have been glad to eat the pigs' food - he became repentant. He began to see the evil that had motivated him and its consequences. He did not see himself as worthy to ask for his father's forgiveness, but would merely request to be treated as a hired servant. He had repented.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''The baptism of repentance is indeed a stricken state of human consciousness, wherein mortals gain severe views of themselves; a state of mind which rends the veil that hides mental deformity.'' n3
n3 Miscellaneous Writings,m p. 203
Sin would always hide or justify itself. So, to destroy sin, we must uncover it and realize its total illegitimacy. Since God, who is good, has never authored sin, it has no genuine being, no foundation, no opportunity. Man is not a home for sin. God's man, our actual selfhood, is pure and upright.
Through repentance - that is, wholehearted abandoning of sinfulness - the prodigal was reacquainted with his father, who presented him with purposeful opportunity. Where was the prodigal's opportunity while he was working at the pig sty? It was always right at hand. It was as close as his ability to repent. As close as his ability to overthrow sensuality and greed. The Scriptures explain, ''He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.'' n4
n4 Proverbs 28:13
When we perceive the wrongness, the godlessness, of certain acts - and the havoc that accompanies them may help us in this endeavor - we can forsake this sinful behavior. Divine Love imparts to us the opportunity to destroy sin completely. Mrs. Eddy explains, ''Divine Love, as unconscious as incapable of error, pursues the evil that hideth itself, strips off its disguises, and - behold the result: evil, uncovered, is self-destroyed.'' n5
n5 %IMis., pp. 209-210.
Every day we have the opportunity to grow tired of sin and to forsake it. We have the opportunity to become reacquainted with our loving Father, God, and to awake to the unabridged blessings of sonship with Him. We need not be anesthetized by disobedience, vanity, lust, or any other species of sin. The Father's directing and providing are ours now. Divine Love forever feeds us with fresh opportunity to be His. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by loveserve one another. . . . The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. Galatians 5:13, 22, 23