As Eddie describes in the introductory blog for the Parish’s Lent project, the purpose of this season is to “create more space in our lives to listen, follow, and be transformed by Christ.” One place desperately in need of space is our heart.
Consider your interaction with the world, specifically the individuals you encounter on a daily basis. How much time do you spend issuing silent judgment on others’ driving habits, clothes, attitude, or even speech? I’ll admit, not a day goes by where my sinful heart doesn’t pass judgment on those around me for the pettiest offenses. My criticism places myself firmly upon a throne, and others must live up to my expectations.
God in his word establishes himself as the authority, the only one with the right to judge. And how amazing is it that the one who is righteous enough to judge is also the one who extends grace? Each time I point an accusing finger at my neighbor, I point an equally accusing finger at God, saying “My moral life affords me a certain allocation of decency and respect from my neighbor, and I’ll handle things my way when I don’t receive it.” Without us realizing it, our hearts gradually fill with frustration, irritation and anger, and we slowly sacrifice the valuable space that God had intended to fill with his love.
Perhaps this Lent season should be a time of removing the excess weight our hearts we were never designed to carry. Perhaps we should focus our attention on our own need for forgiveness, and not our neighbors’. In doing so, we’ll see God relieve the baggage of sin and fill us with his grace, mercy and love.