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During our schooling, many of us would have studied a Gujarati Poem in which repentance was compared with a stream in a figure of speech descending from heaven and the sinner, by diving in it, can become pious and sinless.
There are two words – sin and crime. According to some scholars, both are synonymous; but many define them as different. Sin is categorized under the doctrines of religions and the Creator. Same way, crime is related with the worldly laws concerning to creations, not only human being but all and all created by God. Sin is to be understood under divinity and crime under state laws. Crime or sin whatever you call them – they are of two kinds; one capital and the other trivial.
But, it is immaterial for the purpose of this essay to go deep into the controversy of interpretation of these words and we shall consider crime and sin equivalent as our aim is to discuss here repentance only. It is said, “To err is a human.”; but it is not to be taken easy as easy as it looks. All evil deeds being cause of sufferings to the victims of sin or crime are liable to be condemned under any moral, social, state or divine law applicable.
Now, let us come to the point with some ideologies and quotes in this regard. “Repentance is the door to forgiveness.” One, besides forgiven or hoping forgiveness, gets full satisfaction and pleasure beyond words after repentance. But, at the same time, there are certain conditions to be fulfilled. Imam Ali (a.s.) has laid down some elements of repentance and they are :- (1) Repentant must be really sorry by heart. (2) He or she must be firm not to repeat the evil deed committed. (3) After repentance, there should come change in one’s behavior. (4) One should remember always what wrong was done previously. (5) The heart of repentant should burn in the fire of repentance. (6) One should feel taste of satisfaction of repentance equal to he or she had previously enjoyed the taste of sin or crime when it was committed.
Sincere repentance makes the sinner like a newly born child as it had never committed any sin. Repentance is the greatest and effective intercessor between the sinner and the affected one. Bonnell Thomton has quoted “Some often repent, yet never reform; they resemble a man traveling in a dangerous path, who frequently starts and stops, but never turns back.” Repentance for the past crimes is just and easy, but sin-no-more’s task is too hard and difficult.
Religious minded and naturally good people unanimously admit that one oneself is solely responsible for good or evil deeds. God has created human pure by heart and soul and He never thinks that His created human should go to the path of those people who wander astray. Randy Alcorn says, “God’s grace never encourages us to live in sin; on the contrary, it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to truth.”
God is so kind towards his creations that He gives chance before punishment here or here after with the provision of repentance. God has created human with a gift of the divine soul. This soul of human cries whenever any sin is committed knowingly or unknowingly. Johann Arndt quotes, “Heart – suffering because of sin is the best proof that the Holy Spirit dwells in your heart.”
Before summing up, it would be appropriate to glance a bird-fly-view at some unfair practices also which are neither crimes nor sins; but they are simply morally wrong deeds. They are – disobedience towards parents or elders, unfair attitude towards others, back biting, telling a lie un-purposeful and un-justified, to make a fun or fool of somebody and tease anybody for the sake of entertainment, going out of family, social or religious track of conduct and character, jealousy etc.. All these are moral indisciplines which cannot be imposed or forced on anybody. They can be judged introspectively by individuals and avoided, corrected or repented by themselves. Repentance can be done by awakening inner conscious in such cases also to reform self, be honorable in the eyes of the people and get nearness to God.
B. K. Thakore, a Gujarati sonneteer, writes in a Sonnet that the earth is not beneath the heaven. To make a peaceful world and make the earth paradise, every individual should try to say goodbye to all such negative deeds. Good deeds always leave their impression on the mind, heart and soul of the person and they become helpful for advancement towards spirituality.
Let us go on,
– towards good deeds,
– to virtuous living,
– in company of righteousness,
– to steer ourselves safe from deviations to right direction,
-to listen to the cry of our souls and lead ourselves towards light from darkness of ignorance.
Lastly, I would like to let the youngsters and students know a slogan, very popular amongst the Social Workers – “Do a good turn daily.”. Please, try to follow.
With best regards,
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd. 19th July, 2007