“Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing…” – Luke 23:35
One of my most favorite activities is a Monday morning contemplative prayer group that meets at our church. It is a time of deep reflection and conversation with God. I was there this morning and had such an experience that I just had to share it with my brothers and sisters.
Our meditation this morning was on Luke 23:35. Those unforgettable words of grace that Jesus spoke from the cross, “forgive them…” Our meditation to begin this Lenten season was the question,
“Lord Jesus, make me aware of anything I have done unknowingly to create a barrier between us.”
A great beginning of conviction, confession and repentance for the season.
I left our prayer chapel and begin walking into the back yard of our church. I had a special place in mind to go and contemplate the vastness of Christ’s grace. Almost skipping along, I was praising my Jesus because, as the good Christian I am, I always try to do the right thing. I would NEVER intentionally sin (right???) But my Savior, Jesus, he has my back. Even when I, UNKNOWINGLY, make a mistake He is right there to forgive and forget. So all is good and I can go merrily on my way. I serve a great God.
So I prayed my prayer, asking Him to forgive me of my unknown faults and looked forward to sitting out on a bench with Him telling me what great job I was doing. But something else happened. As I walked across the back yard, I was strongly re-routed to our prayer trail. I physically somewhat felt a force saying, “go here.” So I turned up the hill and encountered something that stopped me in my tracks. Our trail is lined with scripture signs, all chosen by our church family when the church building was erected nearly 10 years ago. Each one coming from the heart of God. This is the sign to which he led me:
Well that is a bucket of cold water on my good mood! At first I wanted to protest. I don’t judge people. I am a grace-filled Christian that loves everybody. All my friends tell me so!
But, in my heart, I know that is not true. In my heart, as I stood there, listening to what my Lord had to say to me, I knew that He was speaking truth. I am doing my best, yes, but I still have so far to go if I am to be the person He wants me to be. He calls me to be a grace dispenser in the world; to show every person the love He has for them. I fear I may never get there. But I trust in that vast grace to catch me when I fail.
These types conversations with Jesus are not easy, and they are rarely pleasant. But friends, they are so necessary. I want to walk with Jesus. I want to have a real relationship with Him. But that means getting past the superficial conversations that help me to pretend I’m OK. That means listening when He tries to point me in the right direction, and not protesting that I am already there. It means letting go of my pride, and clinging to grace offered me by His divine perfection. By protesting my innocence, I live a lie. But I am only lying to myself, because He already knows my heart and my attitudes. The road to true humility is a hard one friends.
Let’s do ourselves a favor for the next few weeks, beloveds. Let’s take off the masks. Let’s approach Jesus in all honesty and humility and just listen to what He has to say. I believe in doing so, we can be transformed as never before. Let this be our new beginning…
Your grace is incomprehensible. I like to think of it as a warm, fuzzy blanket. But today, in your righteousness, it is more a cold shower of reality. Speak to my heart, Lord. And keep speaking until it is changed. Cloak me in humility, so that I might listen instead of reject you. I praise You. For You are the God of second chances. Thank you for never giving up on me.
In Your holy name I pray,