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Lord, Have Your Way

"The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself with these words, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like everyone else—crooks, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of everything I receive.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He wouldn’t even lift his eyes to look toward heaven. Rather, he struck his chest and said, ‘God, show mercy to me, a sinner.’"

Luke 18:11-13 CEB

Lent is the forty days before Easter, which is the time where we seriously examine our lives. Historically, Lent was a time for penance for those who have committed grave sins who had applied for reinstatement into the church. Because it became a season where one dwelt on and lamented over their sins, the season of Lent sometimes takes on a somber and dismal mood.

It goes against the grain of everything we seek in our world. Why dwell on the things that bring us down? Focus on those things that build us up. Everyone needs to have healthy self-esteem by focusing on the good points, practicing positive reinforcements, and combating that critical inner voice. Nothing good can come out of facing our mortality and our sin. It can only make things depressing and miserable. And besides, I’m not as bad as that guy. Isn’t that what the Pharisee was saying in the story from Luke? Even the most despicable of people can find someone who is more despicable than they are. So, I’m not the one who needs to examine myself, it’s that other guy.

Yet, the whole motive for dwelling on our faults and our sins is not to make us feel so miserable and so worthless but is to allow us to be freed from the things that hinder our relationship with God. It is to remind us that God is not with us simply to console affirm, heal, and love us. God is with us to challenge our illusions and confront our personal idolatries. God is in the business of remodeling and is constantly calling us to reorient ourselves.

God knows exactly what you've done, even after years of running and hiding. Even when every impulse we have says “don’t go there.” It’s OK to “go there.” God is big enough to handle it, even though we may not be. For God's not interested in locking you up. No, God wants only to free you up. Free you through forgiveness.

May our prayer in everything be "Lord, have your way." Watch this video as a reminder:


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