Author: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Reflection: v. 1, ‘Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered’
Let’s talk about sin. Lent is known as a season of penitence, a season that we Christians intentionally set aside to think about the ways we have been sinful—and you know, repent. Unfortunately, the church has a long and painful history of thinking and teaching about sin in harmful and unhelpful ways. We pile on shame and make one another feel guilty about the entirely wrong things, while blatantly ignoring the things we should be addressing (you know, like all the ways we hurt, deny, and leave one another out), all the while, never working toward an honest and healing changing of our ways. It is natural to want to put theologies of sin on the back-burner when so many of them do nothing but harm, but if we don’t talk about sin and repentance in healthier ways, how can we ever hope to change? So instead of banishing the concept of sin altogether and saying ‘we don’t talk about sin (no, no, no)’, can we instead envision an honest repentance that liberates us all—a truthful desire to change our ways for the better of everyone? The psalmist says, ‘Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,’ not happy are those who are perfect, not happy are those who can ignore injustice. I believe that when we are honest with ourselves about what we need to work on, about the ways we hurt and fail one another, about the ways we judge and discriminate, about the ways we hold privilege, and about the ways we participate in brokenness, only then can we work toward something better. The freeing part? You do not have to beat yourself up. God doesn’t actually want that either. Repentance is not about beating yourself down for every little thing, it is about changing our world for the better. Doesn’t sound so bad does it? So, let’s talk about it.
Prayer Take away my sin and guilt, O God, that I may be part of change for the better.