And so it begins….the Lenten process of repentance.
The goal of this process: to rid our lives of sin.
We sift our actions, our behavior, our attitudes
according to God’s word, according to God’s ways….
cast away what is contrary to God’s commands
and retain that which conforms to His revealed truths.
Even though we have heard before what God expects of His people
we hear it again
so as to purge our consciences of any hidden doubts regarding the truth:
we have a problem with sin.
Without an invitation from us, sometimes even without our knowledge
sin gets woven into our thoughts, our habits, our living.
Lying, fraud, slander, revenge, dishonesty,
pride, jealousy, lust, gluttony,
ill-will, mean-spiritedness, greed, callousness,
cruelty, bitterness, hatred….the list could go on.
It colors our vision and distorts our judgments.
It can remain hidden from our awareness
but it can never remain hidden from God.
And in the end, our God, who sees all
will divide, not the sinners from the saints
but the non-repentant sinners from the repentant sinners.
He will divide the sinners who live in darkness
from the sinners who now live in the light.
Those who live in the light welcome God’s word
as a source of instruction and a means of needed chastisement.
Those who remain in darkness dismiss God’s word
claiming it inhibits human freedom and restricts the pursuit of human happiness.
Sinners who live in the light strive to remain God-centered.
Those who live in darkness are content with remaining self-centered.
Sinners who live in the light treat the hungry, the poor, the needy
with dignity and care, with compassion and mercy.
Those who remain in darkness treat the hungry, the poor and the needy
as in imposition, an irritation, a thorn to be removed,
or a circumstance to be taken advantage of.
Jesus Christ, the Word of God, drives away the darkness
that would hide the reality of sin.
By choosing to live in Christ we choose to have our sins revealed to us,
as difficult as that may be.
But its far more than this
for in Christ we embrace the pledge of future light
and the promise of being gathered into our heavenly homeland.
May we be moved to repentance. It will be required of us….until the break of eternal day.