Continuing into the third week of our Lenten reflections, confessions, and prayers brings us deeper into the spiral of pride - at some level the root of most of our sin. Lent is a time of soul search and of cleansing, of taking out the trash. The goal is not humiliation, but humbling. Not condemnation, but conviction leading to confession, forgiveness, repentance. The eye is not downcast, but lifted towards the coming cross and, through it, the empty tomb and the full sky. There are some things we were built to carry. Lent is an opportunity to get rid of everything else.
Dear God, before Whose anger the universe quakes in awe, but Who is yet slow . . . slow . . . slow to such anger, I come. I come with my toxic, simmering, explosive angers that don't work Your righteousness - but my destruction. I cry for mercy.
Forgive me the long-held grudge, hidden behind the icy smile and plastic words. Forgive me the defining resentments, long since separated from offense, that keep me warm with the slow-burning fire of simmering rage - a smoldering soul. Forgive me the way I hold on to those unintended, untargeted, unconscious woundings received - keeping them covered, not allowing the light and fresh air in to heal them, choosing rather to let them fester in unforgiveness. Forgive me the explosions born out of frustration and fear, triggered by small irritations, mostly imagined, that ought simply to be ignored, but made worse by weariness or a sense of "enough is enough!"
O Lord Jesus, please teach me out of Your own chosen anger. Show me the deep sources of my rage. Help me recognize and fully accept my anger in enough time to know what to do with it. Instruct me in the structures of release, so that I may let go without allowing any lodging of those things for which anger is not a helpful or necessary reaction. And for those things which call for action moved by anger, help me to speak appropriate, helpful, non-destructive words, carefully chosen to address issues and causes. When anger is no longer needed, let me release it quickly and without residue.
O Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.