Repentance is simple and complicated at the same time. It's simple because all it involves is a mental activity by the individual, a thought. It's complicated because, as simple as "thinking" sounds, God is interested in the purity and honesty of that thought. The purity of one's repentance is tainted with self-will and denial of even the need to repent.

These sayings aren't going to make sense to you unless you have already accepted the righteousness of obeying God's law. Or, if you at least have inclinations to concede to God's will and accept his law (don't worry about the details of what that law is, even I don't know it all), then you can certainly benefit from the advice below.

The most important thing on this whole page is to get across the idea that one's mindset has to be focused on compunction (regret, sorrow, guilt) for one's sins. Even if you remain a sinner (and everyone is a sinner), you still have hope if you can feel true regret for your sins, which means that you acknowledge God's will and law as superior to your will, which is a sign of relationship. If you can at least acknowledge that, then you have hope.

If you're already familiar with the Old and New Testament quotes here, skip down to the Talmud and Desert Fathers--the selections are particularly good.

Old Testament

New Testament

Commentary On the Talmud (from The Living Talmud)

Desert Fathers

Note: Compunction is remorse, a sense of guilt or regret; a sting of conscience; sorrow for one's sins; compunction leads one to repentance.

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