Many people when asked what it means to repent will tell you that it means to "be sorry for your sins." Even though this meaning may make sense to you and is the one touted by many professional preachers of most Protestant denominations, it is not the correct meaning of the word used in the plan of Yahuwah's salvation. In order to understand what you must do to be saved, as Keph (Peter), an apostle of Yahushua, told the men at Yeruwshalom on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38), you must understand the true meaning of the word repent. If you do not know what it means, you cannot do it, and you must do it to meet one of the conditions set forth in the scripture.
You may be sincerely sorry for some action or actions that you have taken in the past, such as sins against our Eloah, whose name is Yahuwah, without ever doing anything about them. While this sorrow is admirable, and it is called "sorrow according to Yahuwah" in scripture, it is not repentance in the meaning of the plan of salvation. Being sorry about something without modifying your behavior away from what you are sorry about is no good. If you do not change your behavior, you cannot enter the kingdom of Yahuwah. This "sorrow according to Yahuwah" is something you feel and not something you do. Although when you finally realize the condition you are in as a sinner "sorrow according to Yahuwah" may very well be one of the driving forces that causes you to obey the word of Yahuwah it is not what you must do to become a Child of Yahuwah. Many people are walking around this earth today full of "sorrow according to Yahuwah" but they have never obeyed the gospel. Until they obey the gospel, their names are not written in the book of life, and they are doomed to the lake of fire.
The term "sorrow according to Yahuwah" in scripture is said to produce repentance toward salvation (2 Korinthios [Corinthians] 7:10).
If you look up the meaning of the words rendered as repent in the Ibriy (Hebrew) scriptures, you will find that often they do mean sorrow. Sorrow for deeds done. But, the plan of salvation is not revealed in the Ibriy scripture, it is revealed in the Greek. In the Greek scripture the word rendered repent means something very different. Also, the meaning stands clearly as a condition you must meet to please Yahuwah.
Below you will find the Ibriy and Greek words rendered as repent and their meanings. Please note that it is only the verb repent that I have defined and not its variations. These definitions are from the Strong's Ibriy/Greek dictionary and I have included the associated Strong's Exhaustive Concordance cross-reference number.
This first Ibriy word, shuwb, appears only three times, in 1 Kings 8:47, Yechezqe'l (Ezekiel) 14:6 and 18:30, in its rendering as repent, but many more times as the other definitions listed with it.
H7725. shuwb, shoob; a primary root; to turn back (hence, away) transient or intransigent, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often advancing again.
It is rendered as ([break, build, circumcise, dig, do anything, do evil, feed, lay down, lie down, lodge, make, rejoice, send, take, weep]) X again, (cause to) answer (+ again), X in any case (wise), X at all, averse, bring (again, back, home again), call [to mind], carry again (back), cease, X certainly, come again (back) X consider, + continually, convert, deliver (again), + deny, draw back, fetch home again, X fro, get [oneself] (back) again, X give (again), go again (back, home), [go] out, hinder, let, [see] more, X needs, be past, X pay, pervert, pull in again, put (again, up again), recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), X repent, requite, rescue, restore, retrieve, (cause to, make to) return, reverse, reward, + say nay, send back, set again, slide back, still, X surely, take back (off), (cause to, make to) turn (again, self again, away, back, back again, backward, from, off), withdraw.
This second Ibriy word, nacham, is the one from which people get their mistaken idea about being sorry for your sins. It does mean to be sorry, but it is not the idea expressed in the plan of salvation.
H5162. nacham, naw-kham'; a primary root; prop. to sigh, i.e. breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, i.e. (in a favorable sense) to pity, console, or (reflex.) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself).
It is rendered as comfort (self), ease [one's self], repent (-er, -ing, self).
This first Greek word, metamellomai, means much the same as the Ibriy word nacham. It appears three times in the Greek scripture as repent and three other times as repented. However, it is not the word found in Acts 2:38.
G3338. metamellomai, met-am-el'-lom-ahee; from G3326 and the mid. of G3199; to care afterwards, i.e. regret:--repent (self).
This Greek word below, metanoeo, is the word that expresses what Yahuwah says is one of the conditions that He has set on becoming one of His children. When you repent in accordance with this word, you will literally quit thinking on the things of this world and start thinking on the things of His kingdom.
Yahuwah has shown us many places in the scripture what our attitude toward the world must be. I have listed a few of those places after the following definition for your convenience should you desire to look at some of the occurrences.
G3340. metanoeo, met-an-o-eh'-o; from G3326 and G3539; to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally feel compunction):--repent.
MattithYahuw (Matthew) 13:22, 16:26, 18:7, Rhomaios (Romans) 12:2, 1 Korinthios (Corinthians) 7:34, Ya'aqob (James) 4:4