I think it was about a year ago I was talking with a close friend from seminary and he said something that has stuck with me ever since. What he said was something to the effect of, “I really look forward to Lent these days because it’s a chance to acknowledge my own sinfulness.”
Interestingly enough, something of the same sentiments had been brewing in my own mind and spirit at the same time.
Not that either of us wants to wallow in our total depravity (even if we both happen to be Presbyterians, after all), but rather, in a culture that avoids the “s” word at all costs (not the four-letter one, that one is still quite popular these days) having a season in which we can openly recognize both the destructive impact of sin on our lives and the need for God’s rescuing hand can actually be a relief.
“Sin” is the proverbial elephant in the room. The word itself is considered a relic of the past. But what if sin, put in its proper place, provides us with a proper rubric by which we can understand our own behavior and each others?
I suggest we approach Lent as a season to acknowledge our own sin, to turn to Christ as a broken people, and ask that Jesus might break the bonds of sin in our lives. Lent is a season to recognize our mortality, that “we are dust and to dust we will return.” In the meantime, may we look in the mirror and discover not just the unconditional love and grace that God lavishes upon us, but the ways in which God wants to rescue and renew us from the sin that so easily entangles.
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