My family will tell you that there are many times when I have difficulty admitting I was wrong. Over the years, having my "stubbornness" pointed out to me on a variety of occasions, I have come to understand that this is truly an area I need to work on. It's not that I'm close-minded. In fact, I work very hard, professionally and personally, to ensure all sides of the situation are represented. Yet, sharing the words, "I was wrong" is a growth opportunity.
This growth area became increasingly clear to me during the Ash Wednesday service this past week. The Lenten season has become my "growth" time each year. I do love Christmas and all of the joy it offers to me, but Lent is a season where I reflect. I reflect on all our Jesus gave for me, for us. I reflect on His incredible love and sacrifice. I also turn that mirror to me, though, in a true understanding that there are many areas where I need to grow - especially spiritually. The Lenten season this year will be my time to listen to my God and have Him show me where I can grow. Where am I wrong? How can I improve? I look at my sinful nature and I can see and understand many of the sins I have each and every day. To me, our sins fall into numerous categories. I'd like to explore two of them today.
There are the sins that I would consider to be "graphic, in-your-face Susan" sins. The thoughts I think and know I shouldn't, my lack of patience, the unkind words that may come out of my mouth, actions (or non-actions) that have occurred. Yes, I am sure you can relate to what I am sharing - the types of sins that we KNOW we have done wrong. These have become immediate sins to me, and I am working to recognize and repent immediately - asking for God's wonderful forgiveness and strength to not have those sins repeat themselves. Every day, but especially during Lent, I am focused on this improvement and know that God can help me, His wonderful grace evident in each step I take.
The other sins that I know I commit are the less "visual" sins. These are sins that maybe I don't consider myself to be wrong, or am not open to see the "sin" in my thoughts, actions, and words. These are the sins I have to be shown - by family, friends - most importantly, by God. These times, these sins, are when I need to be still, be quiet, and listen. I need to listen to those around me, sharing with me how I might have hurt them or others. I need to be quiet, and listen for God's voice. He's there and so willing to talk to me, but often I do not take the time or the effort, to listen. Yes, life is busy. Yes, there is much to do. But what is more important than listening to our God and Savior when He talks to me? Often, I believe I am doing much of the talking without enough of the listening (I'm sure my family would agree on THAT statement). It happens with God, too. I will talk/pray with God, and then move on. I need to listen - I need to grow - I need to learn. Once I learn what I am doing that is sinful, it is at that moment I need to recognize, repent, and grow. Recognize, repent, and grow!!
During the next few weeks, journey with me. Jesus took the journey to the cross for us. He suffered greatly for each of our sinful nature. He walked the road to Calvary, each step stomping out our sin. He hung on a cross, our sins on his shoulders. Journey with me, as I ask God to open my eyes, my heart, and my soul to the sins that are less visible. Listen with me, to God's words, as he lovingly shares where I went wrong, and the road back to His grace. He will teach us best when we are quiet, and willing to learn the path to His kingdom. Recognizing our sins is the first step on our journey. It truly is simple. Be quiet, have faith, that our Almighty Father can reign in our lives. May this Lenten season bring you a oneness with our Savior.
"Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong." (NIV) Job 6:24