Lent Is A Unique Time For Private Soul Searching
“What is wrong with me?” is a question I hesitate to ask others to answer. Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, is quick to offer his opinion on what is wrong with me. He says that my family can’t be objective about me. They will either say that everything is wrong with me or nothing. Families tend to answer the one extreme or the other. My old neighbor believes members in families will have an ax to grind about each other eighty % of the time.
What is wrong with me is a question I need to answer about myself in this Lenten season. The Christian Season of Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday to Easter. It focuses on forty days for soul searching with increased prayer, fasting, reading God’s word, in renewed humility, and repentance. Soul searching goes beyond the truth that we all sin, to the awareness of how we personally sin in thought, word, and deed. It also emphasizes a desire to grow in faith and life in response to Christ’s suffering and death for us.
Lent invites us to take more time to go to God’s Word with prayer and consider ourselves before His word. We can always find someone we see as acting more faithfully to God’s word than ourselves. We can also become relieved that some appear to be more faithless to God than ourselves. How difficult it is to look at our own attitudes, actions, and relationship with God with humility and repentance. How hard for us to mirror the willing self-sacrifice of Christ for the good of all others.
In Lent, God shouts to us through Christ’s suffering of lashes, His assault with slaps and spit as an abused prisoner, His crown of thorns, and the nails pounded through His wrists and feet. The cross of Calvary echoes through time as the place of suffering and pain by the Son of God to bring us peace, by enduring punishment in his body for our salvation. The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purifies from all sin. Will we listen for God to speak to our conscience in the days of Lent? Will we have earphones on listening to what gives us pleasure instead? Will we talk about our pains but ignore the pain suffered by Christ?
1 John offers the spirit of Lent: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and His word has no place in our lives.” Also, in Chapter 2 of 1 John, it encourages us with: “If anyone does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” In Lent, we admit that we like sheep have gone astray. Each of us turns to our own way, but the Lord laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53)