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Lenten Reflections – Monday, February 18

Monday, February 18

By Chris Karr

1 Chronicles 21:1-17, Psalm 17, and 1 John 2:1-6

Nobody likes a hypocrite. It really turns my crank when I hear pundits and politicians condemn others from an assumed position of moral authority. Who are they to judge? However, my self-righteous anger is soon followed by the shameful realization of my own hypocrisy. Am I without sin? Who am I to dismiss their feelings? It’s hard to leave the judging to God.

Pain and fear drive our judgmental behavior. We’re afraid of being hurt again by an angry stranger, a heartless employer, an abusive family member, an uncaring community. We are ashamed to admit to the world, much less ourselves, that we’re part of the problem. We want to be free from the ultimate fear: that our very own existence is fleeting, cruel and meaningless.

God offers us a way to ease our fear and pain. It is available to all, without exception. Why don’t we believe it? Why don’t we fess up to our incomplete, imperfect condition and begin to receive the saving grace afforded to us? Why do we talk the talk and not walk the walk?

It’s because we blame somebody else for our problems. It’s because we don’t think we’re worthy of God’s grace. Because we don’t want to give up control to God. We are used to our well-worn, cold bed of sin and death. We would rather stay in our grim, dark comfort zone and avert our eyes from God’s humbling truth.

How do we break this vicious cycle of shame, fear and sin? It’s by taking baby steps; following the path of Jesus. You and I need courage to risk just enough to take that first step or two – admitting to ourselves that we can’t do it ourselves, asking God for help, offering a small token of forgiveness to someone who has hurt us, or perhaps a small act of unsolicited kindness.

With those first steps God’s grace begins to flow. Our eyes slowly open to the real world. What is true and eternal becomes clearer, like the loving connectedness of all people, and all living things through the power and love of the Holy Spirit. What doesn’t matter, like self-righteous hubris and criticism, fades away. The power of the Spirit begins to heal our wounds and emboldens us to stride ahead in our faith journey, sharing in the love and protection of God more and more.

Forgive me, God, for I have talked of your Kingdom and glory, and yet, still fear to pick up the cross and follow you. Give me the courage to walk in your steps and abide
in your loving arms.

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