Skip to main content

Forgive Me a Sinner


            As the Lenten Season draws to a close approaching Holy Week, can you look back and honestly admit that you are the chief sinner?  I hope so.  There is no spiritual lesson as helpful as seeing your own sin as so hideous that it sent Jesus Christ to the cross.  When you bundle up all the sins that others have sinned against you in this year—none compares to your lifetime of personal sin against a Holy God.

            I attended the Forgiveness Sunday service at the Orthodox Church that precedes their Lenten journey.  There is a special liturgy that is used for this service focusing on the reality that each of us are grave sinners.  The closing of this time of prayer is when the clergy come out in their black robes (the beautiful purple is laid aside.)  Then beginning with the head priests, and assistant priests each person in the church comes before one another, one at a time, and confesses Forgive me a sinner, to which they hear the response God forgives.  After the assistant priest confesses, he stands to the right of the priest and the rest of the clergy follow suit.  Then the congregation, row by row, begins with the priest, then moves to the right to greet fellow sinners who will make their way past until the whole congregation has confessed.  I hardly knew anyone at this service so I had not directly sinned against any of them that I am aware.  However, the repeated gesture had a huge impact on me. 

            I said: Forgive me a sinner, with conviction.  And I received the response back that God forgives and that I should have a blessed Lent.  The response to my repentance is quick and powerful as the reality of my sin hits home in my soul.  I hope to attend this service again next year.  It was both amazingly joyful and brutally honest. 

            Without the reality of your sin, Easter would have no meaning.  It would be a horror story with a sci-fi ending.  But you are a sinner, the chief sinner.  Yet I can’t convince you of that; your own soul bears this news.  When your soul faces the fact of the darkness of sin, it is drawn to the light of Christ that casts out all darkness and replaces it with a beam of joy and gladness!

            Forgiveness of sin was not easy for Jesus.  He told us that when some friends brought a paralyzed man to Him.  Jesus saw their faith and told the man that his sins were forgiven.  The church leaders took offense at His statement but did not speak it out loud in front of the crowds.  Jesus responded anyway:   Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, ‘Get up and walk? (Matthew 9:4-5). 

            To be prepared for Easter Sunday you need to answer Jesus’ question in your heart.  If your heart says it is easier to say get up and walk rather than your sins are forgiven, then you have missed the whole point of Lent.  Indeed it was much harder, close to impossible to forgive your sins.  Enter Holy week with a holy awareness of how hard it was.  What rejection, torture, suffering,and humiliation did it take for God to forgive the sins of man?

Rejoice this Easter as you hear Jesus say to you as He said to the paralyzed man: Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven (Matthew 9:2).
Copyright © 2013.  Deborah R. Newman www.teatimeforyoursoul.com  All Rights Reserved

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Moving Forward

It’s been half a decade since my husband of 27.5 years died suddenly of a brain bleed.  My life turned upside down that weekend, and nothing will ever be the same.  Someone commented to me that I had moved-on.  It was meant to be a compliment, and I totally get the affirmation that was intended.  The truth is I have not moved-on, nor do I ever expect that I will.  I love this quote sent to me in a sympathy card and have shared it over and over with others.  St Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: I can never lose one whom I have loved unto the end; one to whom my soul cleaves so firmly that it can never be separated does not go away but only goes before.               Grief should have a beginning, middle and end; that is true.  That first year or two I would have done anything to diminish my pain.  I was in so much pain that I wasn’t even a person.  It’s hard to believe that we humans will naturally grow more comfortable existing in our pit of despair of grief than to let it go…

Thank You Dad

Recently I have been contemplating why it is ingrained in me that I must be quiet and respectful and look at the flag when the national anthem is played.  It’s as natural for me as standing for the Hallelujah Chorus during Handel’s Messiah or for the Bride when she walks through the back door.  Like a Pavlov dog, my instincts go into action, and I do not even think about my somewhat conditioned response. Why?  It was definitely my own father who had the most influence over me regarding the national anthem.  I am not a sports enthusiast.  However, from a young age I found myself at sports games because my older brother played every sport offered.  Our family faithfully attended those games, which normally started with the national anthem.  I found a way to enjoy the otherwise agonizing experience of being held prisoner to my brother’s sporting events by gravitating to my friends who were there under duress as well.  We made up games of our own; we would laugh and talk throughout the q…

Waiting on Lila

On the first day of Advent I awoke to a call at 3:20 am that I should come to the hospital because my daughter was being taken down to deliver Lila—my first grandchild!  I had been first alerted to her early arrival two days before when Rachel's water broke, but not much labor. I arrived in Birmingham seven and a half hours later (it would have been sooner but there wasn’t a direct flight!). And then...we waited. We waited on Lila’s lungs to respond to a couple of steroid shots (she was three weeks early). As we waited, we halfway watched football and occasionally made small talk about subjects other than Lila’s birth; but mainly we carried on just wishing, wondering and thinking we could plan for the time that Lila would arrive based on the medical advice we were given.  All we could think about was what we were waiting for, our baby girl to come into the world.

While waiting on Lila, a code blue was called to her room; then the number was changed to the room next door. We Gran…