Going Deeper 3/27/19

The Psalm for Lent 4...
Psalm 32   Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.  While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and you forgave the guilt of my sin.  Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.  You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.  I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.  Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.  Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.  Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

We don't have to acknowledge ourselves as deeply broken sinners.  We're certainly free to minimize our confession of our transgressions, to conclude that we are not really too bad.   It is possible to see ourselves as pretty good people because compared to so many others we really aren't that bad.  And even when we fall short, we can make up for it by doing some good things to help balance the scale.

I am able to navigate that slippery slope for myself... until the word of God convicts me and opens my eyes.  I am not a murderer... until I hear Jesus say that anger and angry words make me a murderer.  Well, at least I'm not an adulterer... until I hear Jesus say that lust is equivalent to adultery.  Okay, but I am certainly not a thief... at least until the word tells me that a lack of generosity is a type of theft.  Uh oh!

Do I love God with my whole heart and soul and mind and strength?  Do I love and serve my neighbors as myself?   Do I even come close?

Doing the painful work of repentance is a necessary prelude to grace.  As the Psalmist wrote,  "Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."  And the greater the sin, the greater the gratitude flowing from forgiveness.  And the greater the gratitude, the greater the transformation.  And the great the transformation, the greater the joy and meaning of life.

"I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and you forgave the guilt of my sin.   The road to a truly happy Easter is the road of repentance.  That is what this season of Lent is all about.

With You in His Grace,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

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