As you read and reflect on today’s beatitude, please listen to this track from contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. We will feature this track throughout Lent.
It is reported that the theologian Karl Barth, who had opposed the Hitler regime, was once asked what he would say to Hitler if given the chance. Barth replied that he would simply say to him: “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That is the boundless love of God in Christ Jesus! But to experience that love we must first recognize that we have nothing on our résumé to qualify us for living in His kingdom.
All the while we mourn our spiritual poverty we rejoice in the boundless love of God for us. To mourn our sinful selves does not mean sinking into self-condemnation or wallowing in our guilt. We know that “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). God does not condemn us, and neither will we condemn ourselves. Rather, we revel in the love of God that calls us the “children of God” (I John 3:1); we resolve to see ourselves only as the heavenly Father sees us (Colossians 3:1-4). We know that the good news of God’s kingdom is not about our sin, but about our Savior!
You might find it helpful to pray the following in order to acknowledge your spiritual need and to experience the comfort of God’s grace:
Almighty God, my heavenly Father: I have sinned against you, through my own fault, in thought, and word, and deed, in what I have done and what I have left undone. For the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me all my offenses; and grant that I may serve you in newness of life, to the glory of your Name. Amen (Book of Common Prayer).
PONDER AND PRAY
“But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”—Romans 5:20
- How are you doing with facing up to wrong in your life without sinking into a downward spiral of shame?
- How do you think the heavenly Father sees you?
- Pray: “Lord, help me not to pretend but to embrace my vulnerability, humanity, and limits” (Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality).