February 15, 2018 Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 51; Luke 9:22-25
I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life. Deuteronomy 30:19
Is it absurd to say some people perceive religion as a curse?
My brother does. He grew up terrified of God. Religion was an obstacle course of “mortal sins.” If you missed a hurdle you could spend all eternity in the fire of hell.
To save his sanity, he stopped believing in God.
What could this Lent be for him? What could it be for the rest of us?
Deuteronomy says, “Obey the Lord, your God… loving him…”
“Loving him…” John wrote: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love” (1John 4:18).
If we know the Father, we will love him. Then we will have no fear. Any teaching that makes God a monster is false teaching. We don’t judge God by what we were taught was “mortal sin”—sin that destroys our relationship with God—we judge what we were taught about sin by what we know of God.
The word “repentance” (metanoia) means “a change of mind.” Lent is a time to change our minds about many things. One of them might be the way we think about God.
Focus on love, and love will become your light.
ACTION: Ask yourself what would make your human father disown you. What wouldn’t.
PRAYER: “Lord, give me a heart to know you” (see Jeremiah 24:7).