Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is Here!

Somebody noticed that I have been quiet and not posting much on social media recently and asked what I was thinking about all that is happening in the world around us. I had to think about it and said I was trying to take the necessary time to think for myself and not carry on with old, conditioned responses and ways of thinking. I have often heard that “it is insanity to continue to act the same way and expect a different result.”

One thing I read from the scriptures is that one of the main messages from all the prophets until John the Baptist is the need to repent, to turn away from the ways we have been living and doing things. The message of repentance requires action and change. The message of repentance must be received personally, and not as a way to judge others.

No verse in the Bible justifies anyone judging others, even when they are wrong. Even when I think I am right and others are wrong, even if I could prove that using the Scriptures, I would still be wrong by judging others. The word is very clear, “judge not.”

So, I have been trying to spend time in prayer, solitude, silence, and meditation, searching my heart for the things I must repent of. I have been thinking about the wildfires in Lahaina, earthquakes in Afghanistan, and now the war in Israel. It is so easy to keep reacting as we have been conditioned for generations, to take one side and blame the other.

One of the first things about repentance can be learned from the prophet Daniel, the main lesson is that repentance is personal, and it can never be based on blaming others. In the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel, the prophet takes ownership and responsibility not only for his personal sins, but also for the sins of his country, and its leaders. Even if he never committed the sins that he is repenting of, he is still, as a prophet and a priest, taking responsibility and ownership for the sins of his people. That is exactly what the ministry of reconciliation means, this is what Jesus Christ came to do, and Paul explains that this is our responsibility.

As believers, I don’t think we can look at the world as being justified in judging and condemning the wrongs around the world, the sinners, other nations, other religions, and other Christians. If Jesus had done that, we would all be lost. He did not come to judge the world, but because of the Father’s love, He saved the world, He reconciled the world, not by what we can do, but because of what He did.

The Kingdom of God is at hand means that it is not something we wait for in the future, it means that Jesus came to inaugurate the Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven, and we must adjust repent, and change our old ways of relating to one another.

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matthew 5:20–24). The Kingdom of God has everything to do with the way we relate to God and to our neighbors.

Of what am I repenting? I am repenting of every time I have been angry at any of my brothers and sisters, of the times I have spoken things that according to the words above, make me a murderer, it makes me no different from the things we watch on the news and are so quick to judge and condemn. I am repenting of the level of division, criticism, and judgmental attitude that is so prevalent in Christianity. How can we be a light to the world when we are still, after two thousand years, judging the world, instead of praying for our enemies and those that persecute us? Every time I have criticized, judged, or condemned anyone I was destroying the temple of the Holy Spirit, I was acting as a terrorist and a murderer. Every time we as Christians do that to one another we are not letting the light and the love of God shine to the world. I am repenting of this insane tendency that we have to think that because we belong to a church or denomination, we are better than somebody else. Jesus said there is only one good and that is the Father. We are not good because of where we attend, we are good because we have been reconciled to God by Christ not judging the world but loving and giving His life for the world.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43–48).

The prophet Daniel had his personal relationship with God, but he was a captive, in exile in Babylon, he was personally suffering for hundreds of years of idolatry and disobedience of his people Israel, but instead of blaming others, he took it upon himself to confess the sins of Israel, as if they were all his personal sins and to repent for his nation.

What if every believer would do the same? What if we honestly look at the history of the Church, of Christianity, of the divisions and blaming, accusations and criticism, and we would all repent, confess, and stop blaming each other? The priestly prayer of John 17 calls for oneness among the disciples. The book of Ephesians talks about the oneness between Jews and Gentiles, but for some reason, we continue to justify our division by blaming and accusing others.

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (John 17:22–23).

Daniel 9

1 John 3:14-18

Matthew 7:1-5

Luke 6:37

John 7:24

James 4:11

Isaiah 11:3

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Romans 14:3

John 3:16-17

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

James 1:1-12