Ash Wednesday is already upon us! Lent is a season of restoration. That may sound odd, because we all know it is a time of atonement. But what is the goal of atonement? The restoration of God’s love within us that has been blocked or kicked out by our errant ways. If we think of Lent in this way, it gives the fuller purpose to our practices of giving up what is bad or unnecessary and taking on new healthy ways of living and thinking.
The question begs…what does God desire to restore?
‘When he comes home from work, he checks in, then ‘checks out’ (porn, Internet, TV, marijuana/alcohol)’
‘She’s always clamoring at me…clinging to me…wanting something of me…wanting me to change’
Any psychotherapist or pastor worth his salt will tell you that in relational troubles, you must first stop thinking about how the other person must change. Every troubled relationship has two people dwelling on the other person.
We think of the saints as having such fortitude as if there is no disturbance in their mind or heart. They are invincible (we think), carrying on God’s will without doubts or fears. Yet their hearts, as our own, suffered. They were in the thick of the typical human experience even if their situations were untypical. They didn’t live up to the expectations that others had of them, were ridiculed by their peers and family, and had to interact with charity towards people who felt superior, manipulated, or sought their demise (and death!). Perhaps similarly, though not as dramatically, we too suffer.