Psalm 41:4 O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.
We are in the season of Lent, which includes the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Lent is traditionally a time of reflection and introspection. Why? Because a crucial element in celebrating Jesus’ resurrection at Easter is an awareness of our acute need for a savior in the first place.
If you’ve been reading this blog lately you know we’ve been reading about the challenges and struggles of God’s people in the Old Testament days before Jesus came along. They had the “rule book” given originally to Moses which laid out the rules for living – written in some detail. All they had to do was follow those rules and all would be well.
But they couldn’t follow the rules. Sin always got in the way.
As we live in a culture that encourages individuals to decide for themselves what is right and wrong, many consider “sin” to be an old fashioned word – an obsolete concept. How’s that? Well, sin assumes there is a God who declares what is right and wrong. God (the Creator) is the judge of such things, not people (created beings). God is at the center, not you and me.
Secular culture strongly resists this God-centric worldview. In a humanistic secular culture it is people who are at the center. Right and wrong are determined by the individual and his/her conscience. Right and wrong are culturally and contextually elastic. As a Roman Catholic colleague wrote in a recent blog post, “Every man a ministerium”.
Today’s verse from the psalms highlights three important points:
1. Right and wrong are the providence of God, not people. People don’t get to make up the rules, though we’d like to.
2. Because we continually fall short of God’s hope and expectation for us, we commit “sin”. And this sin is not some abstract infraction, but a personal affront to God.
3. When we acknowledge our sin before God, asking forgiveness from God, we receive it. Every time.
Heavenly Father, you are good. We are not. We try to be, but we always fall short. In our sin we would expect to be separated from you and your holiness, but you sent your son Jesus as a savior to bridge the gap between our sin and your holiness. Give us grace to reflect honestly upon our sin. Shine a light on areas of our lives where we choose to live outside of your desires for us. And as we repent of our sin, again, restore us once more to you. For we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.