Sunday, March 12, 2017

Reflection for the 2nd Week of Lent, Part 1

Monday – We Messed Up

“We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from Your commandments and Your laws.”

Let's face it; we messed up. The prophet Daniel freely admits it, and so should we. None of us is perfect, far from it in fact. We have sinned. We have disobeyed. We have selfishly followed our own paths and ignored God.

And God has every right to punish us. In fact, He has every right to wash His hands of us completely, to leave us to our devices, to the consequences of our sins.

But He doesn't do that. He does, of course, punish us for our wrongdoing but only to correct us and reform us and bring us back to righteousness. And He lets us experience the consequences of our sins for the same reason. We need to learn how serious sin is and how much damage it causes. But God never leaves us. He never turns His back on us. He doesn't give up on us.

Instead, He continually offers mercy and forgiveness to repentant hearts. He has compassion for us, His weak, messed up little children, and He picks us up, dusts us off, and sets us back on our way, ready to do it all over when we mess up again.

Aren't we blessed that God doesn't deal with us as we deserve but according to His great love?

Tuesday – Humility

In today's Gospel Jesus tells us that “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Modern hearers tend to have some misconceptions about what it means to be humble. Humility doesn't mean putting yourself down. It doesn't mean thinking that you're worthless or that your life has no meaning.

Not at all. Humility is simply being in touch with reality. It means knowing that God is God and you're not and acting accordingly.

Humble people acknowledge that without God, they can do nothing and would be nothing at all. They recognize that everything good comes from God, including their lives and their right choices and their loving deeds. They rely on God's grace to support them in everything and to give them the power and strength they need to live the way God wants them to live. Humble people put God first and themselves last with other people in between.

God deals with humble people by raising them up, filling them with His grace, and setting them on the firm foundation of His love. Those who fail to be humble, however, have a different experience. God often knocks them down a few pegs so they can learn that the world does not revolve around them. But He humbles them not to hurt them but so they can get in touch with reality and begin acting accordingly. Then they, too, will be humble, and then God will exalt them.

Wednesday – A Little Scheme

The people of Jerusalem and Judah were up to something. Their little scheme was almost complete. They just had to listen closely, and then they'd have him, caught by his own words. That pesky prophet Jeremiah didn't stand a chance.

Jeremiah made them too uncomfortable. He reminded them of things they would rather not think about, things like duty and sin, things like responsibility and punishment. They were content with their lives, and they certainly didn't want to be shoved out of their comfortable existence by Jeremiah.

So they would get rid of him. They would catch him saying something really bad about the priests or leaders or even something that could be interpreted as blasphemous. Then they could accuse him and have him executed. He would bother them no more. It wouldn't be any great loss, they told themselves.

But Jeremiah was on to their little scheme, and much more importantly, so was God. The people could plot all they wanted, but God had a message for them, and Jeremiah would keep right on delivering it whether they liked it or not.

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