According to Matthew's account of the Gospel, the first word that Jesus spoke in His very first message to the world was repent 4:17.
Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand (NASB).
In today's inclusive climate of shallow humancentric theology, one might suppose surely that Jesus' first word would have been something such as coexist or love. Repentance sounds too much like censorship or judgment - when in fact it was indeed His love for us that makes possible the precious gift of repentance.
Repentance is an opportunity for change. It means there is hope for the one whom slavery to sin has reduced to an embarrassed and tortured soul. Such is only a threat to the one who seeks validation for his or her destructive choices, but for the one who is broken and contrite repentance is a welcomed offer for a new life - or as Jesus taught, an invitation to be born again.
Unfortunately, many who long to repent can't. Like Esau who sought it with bitter tears but never found it (Hebrews 12:17), they want to hate their sin but they just don't. Seriously, they would love for sin to break their heart like it breaks God's but it just doesn't. They do indeed hate how sin makes them feel, the money it has cost them, the broken relationships, the toll it takes on their bodies, and the shame and guilt which never relent. But, as a dog returns to eat that which has sickened him so many times prior (Prov 26:11), they repeat their folly even as they anticipate inevitable nausea... again.
Repentance... a change in both mind and direction is a blessed opportunity made possible by the perfect love of a Savior. A Savior who seeks to set us free from that which is already enslaving us, jerking us around, telling us what to do, restricting our liberty, and ignoring our feelings with brutal disregard. Don't resent it, embrace it.
Pastor Mike Snelgrove