I read this Lenten Devotional last night that was included in our church's weekly newsletter and it set the right perspective for me for Lent.
This year I am giving up something that has been a part of my life for too long and putting my full faith in God that he will carry me through. I will direct my eyes to Him...
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. ~ Psalm 51:1
By: Henri Nouwen
Our temptation in Lent is to be so impressed by our sins and failings and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in a paralyzing guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is guilt that becomes an idol and form of pride.
But Lent is precisely the time to break down this idol and to direct our attention to our loving Lord. The question is: “Are we like Judas, who was so overcome by his sin that he could not believe in God’s mercy any longer and hanged himself? Or are we like Peter, who returned to his Lord with repentance and cried bitterly for his sins?
“You are dust, and to dust you will return.” This ancient formula will be heard by millions of Christians all over the world this Ash Wednesday as the sign of the cross is made in ashes on their forehead. This symbolic act is both a solemn reminder and an invitation to renewal.
Lord God, this Lent help us to do our best to keep our minds fixed on you and your Kingdom.