Wednesday of this past week marked the beginning of the Lenten season - a season of soul search and chosen dying in preparation for the wondrous life of resurrection celebrated and entered in to on Resurrection Sunday morning. Over these next several weeks, I would like to reflect on what it means for me to be a sinner who sins - and would invite you to share the journey of examination and confession. It seems to me that we need to take sin seriously. The purpose of confession is not to wallow in our sinfulness, but to bring it fully and finally to Jesus, receive His forgiveness, and learn to walk in the new life He gives.
At some level, the root of all sin is pride - and so our Lenten journey begins there.
Oh God, maker of Heaven and earth, maker of me - I see so often in my own heart the leaning towards the same prideful arrogance that drove me in the garden to partake of fruit forbidden. How crazy it is to think, even for a moment, that I know better than You about anything. Even anything concerning me. Lord, you know me. You know that I am but dust. You also know that it is hard for me to know me that well. I tend to think more highly of myself than I ought to think - to exaggerate my claims to success and ignore my failures - to justify my arrogance and excuse my willfulness.
Forgive me the mis-impressions I leave uncorrected because they are flattering, even if false. Forgive me for the way I manipulate conversations to wring compliments out of silence. Forgive me for the comparisons with others by which I measure my relative worth - rather than leaving all of that in your able hands. Forgive me for the reluctance to celebrate others for fear it will diminish me. Forgive me for not thinking as highly of You as I ought to think.
Oh God - have mercy on me - a sinner.
Please help me to think of myself as accurately as possible only in relation to You. And, along the way, help me become un-selfconscious. Please grant me opportunities this day to deal death to prideful self, that Your new life may have rightful and full place in and above all in me.