Thursday after Ash Wednesday – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

1 We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2For he says,

    “In a favorable time I listened to you,
   and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

     Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

I have come to a time in life and happen to be in a circumstance in which I am given to a bit of reflection. I look back upon a career and vocation and see many opportunities taken, a few passed up. I could wonder what would have happened had I made a different decision or taken another path. Too much of such reflection is foolish and even harmful. I must remember that this is the life that I am given to live. But as I look back, I am struck by how often I neglected to listen to good advice.

Paul offers us good advice today. As one who has ignored such advice and paid a price for it in multiple ways, I urge you to listen to him. He implores us to be reconciled to God. I, for one, have a hard enough time reconciling my checking account, let alone my relationship with the divine. Praise God, he has done all the heavy lifting here. He sent Jesus, who knew no sin, to become sin itself for us. When he carried that cross up a hill outside of Jerusalem to his own death, he was bearing far more than its wooden weight. He has paid sin’s price, the reconciling price. Why would you ever want to hang onto sin now? This is the time to be rid of sin and all the havoc it wreaks upon you.

Take stock of your life. Do not let the busy-ness or the business of life keep you from this necessary task. Spend the time in honest reflection. Listen to good advice. Better, do this with a Christian friend with whom you can be utterly honest about yourself and that person can do the same. Every human life has its darkness. Face up to your own. If it helps, take a piece of paper, and write down what God must take from you: the sins, the desires, the brokenness of heart and life. Repent of it. Turn from it. Do not cling to it another day. This is the time for such discipline and introspection. God has already consigned your sins to their proper hell. Do not hang onto them too tightly or willingly. Rather, be reconciled to God.

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