My family and I lived in England for nearly four years. We lived in Kent, that part of England which stretches out into the English Channel and is closest to mainland Europe. The main motorway in that part of the country is the M-20 on which folks can travel from London to the coast and back. Dover is the port where many of the ferries arriving from Calais in France would arrive. These car ferries would deposit Europeans wishing to visit England.
On a rather alarmingly frequent basis, usually at night, there would be instances where these Europeans who were used to driving on the “right” side of the road found themselves headed the wrong way on the motorway. Driving on the right side of the road was completely natural to them, it was what they were accustomed to, but it led to chaos and sometimes death. On occasion the wrong way driver, after the fact, would report being confused and angered by oncoming traffic that seemed to be angrily flashing headlights and barely avoiding collision with them.
I have often thought this a good analogy for repentance. Repentance is turning from the direction we are going to go the other direction. So often repentance is thought of as a cold, killjoy, unnatural way of living, but it is literally a turning from death to life. To repent from the folly of sin and to turn and follow the path of Christ is to save our lives and to live as we were intended (even if it means driving on the left side of the road).
The Rev. Zac Neubauer is the president of EFAC-USA.