What is Repentance?
The Greek word for repentance is metanoia. Translated this alludes to the idea of changing ones way of thinking in order to correct a wrong. Repentance is very closely related to the idea of forgiveness, with many people repenting in order to be forgiven.
When Christians talk about repentance it is usually in reference to confession to God. We are called to confess that we have done wrong (sinned) and resolve in our hearts and minds not to repeat the sin again.
In Hebrew the word for repentance has two connotations. The first is 'to return' and the second is 'to feel sorrow'.
One of the most striking illustrations of repentance in the bible is found in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15). Here the sentiment of repentance is firmly centred around the concept of 'a change, or changing, of mind and heart', accompanied by a sense of regret and determination to take practical steps to change.