All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (Acts 10:43 NRSV)

Repentance is our action step in restoring our relationship with God.

I read a story of an Indian named Johnny Moses. A English missionary priest came to his tribe in the 1800s. It took the priest years to learn the language of Johnny's tribe. And Johnny Moses said, "And when he did, he began to preach. The people were sorry they taught him our language."

He told the people about hell. No one knew what hell was. Johnny said, "Our elders told the priest that our ancestors had never given us directions to hell, so none of us had ever been there."

"The priest told us that he would baptize us and that we would have to go to confession once a week and eat fish of Friday." There was an old man in the village who the priest baptized and named Anthony. The priest told Anthony that he would have to go to confession once a week and eat fish on Fridays.

Anthony asked, "What is Friday?" Because he and his tribe's people didn't know that Friday was a day of the week. Some time later, some of the village people told the priest that Anthony had not been going to confession. The priest went to see Anthony on Friday.

When he found Anthony he was cooking deer meat. The priest asked him why he was going to eat deer meat on Friday. Anthony replied, "I took the deer down to the river and baptized the deer. Then I named it Fish."

The folly of this story is that water and a new name doesn't change people or a deer. It is repentance that changes people and restores their relationship with God.

God of forgiveness, please forgive me, help me to repent, and restore me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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