Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Brokenhearted - A Lenten Meditation

But there's also this, it's not too late— God's personal Message!—"Come back to me and really mean it! Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!"~ Joel 2:12, MSG

Writings on the topic of sin are surely uncomfortable and somewhat unpopular.  Rather than comforting us with faith's stories of redemption, salvation and hope, passages about our shortcomings leave us feeling disgusted, frequently in denial, and often inadequate.  No one likes feeling that way.  Yet, I would contend that there is a deep need for to visit to boldly confront that which our human nature would like to avoid at all costs.

Think about this with me for a minute.  There are certain behaviors in each of our lives that, if revealed, would be tremendously embarrassing to us.  We wouldn't want anyone to judge our character based on those little parts of us.  It may be the times we lost our temper with our innocent children.  It may be occasion we stole a couple of extra alcohol swabs or band-aids from the clinic because we needed them at home and didn't want to pay for more out of our own pockets.  It may be the little "white lies" we told the school to get our child through a bad situation.  None of this is anything we are particularly proud of.

Yet, unless we come to a point where we are willing to face how flawed and wicked we are, we will see no need for a Savior.  And unless we become utterly brokenhearted over how nasty and evil we are, we can't fully appreciate the lavish love Jesus showed us by dying on the cross in punishment for that depravity.  I used to bristle at Rick Warren's words in The Purpose Driven Life, "Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin."  But the more I see both in culture and in myself, I see the truth and wisdom in those words.  Furthermore, as I read God's word and witness His utter perfection throughout history, my conscience becomes more awakened, and I become more aware of how much I fall short.  I can say with the Apostle Paul, "I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it."  (Romans 7:18, GW)

Now, lest you think that you are exempt from being anywhere near as evil as I, allow me to invite you to identify with the people being interviewed in this video.  I love this approach made popular by Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort in The Way of the Master.  Going through this "good person test" opens a person's eyes to the fact that what they may think is good, really leaves a great deal to be desired.  In fact, Paul rightly reveals to us, "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard." (Romans 3:23, NLT)  The best person in the world still falls far short of God's perfection.

Don't be afraid or too proud to face your filthy motives and behavior.  As I frequently tell others, The more ugly I am willing to admit I am, the more beautiful Jesus looks!  That is a phenomenal, breathtaking place to be!  During this season of meditating upon the price that was paid for your eternal salvation, take some quiet time apart to think of all your shortcomings.  Spend some time becoming brokenhearted over what you have done.  But don't stay there.  Quickly turn your face towards the rejoicing of what was done to take the burden of that wickedness away.  Your Maker truly loves you!

Pray:  Jesus, I am a hopeless sinner, desperately wicked and unworthy of heaven.  But I praise You because you took my punishment for all of that.  Thank You for making a way to spend eternity with you forever in paradise! 

~ Barb Dittrich

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