Lenten Devotional, March 4: By Doug Durand

Published March 4, 2020 by SMBC

By Doug Durand

At Easter the first verse that usually comes to my mind, and perhaps yours, is John 3:16, ?For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.? However, this year it is two other common but only marginally related verses that are weighing on my heart. First, in Matthew 22:38 Jesus commands us to ?love your neighbor as yourself.? We all recognize this can be challenging, but we?re Christians, right, so bring it on! Then, in Matthew 18:21-22 when Peter asked, ?How often shall I forgive my brother who sins against me?? Jesus said, ?not up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.? Where are you going with this you may ask? Let me explain.

You would have to be living under a rock to not be acutely aware of the pervasive polarization affecting our society today, politically and otherwise. On many issues half of us have a very definite, considered, and passionate position, while the other half feels exactly the opposite. There seems to be no middle ground, no room for meaningful dialogue, therefore seemingly no love and no grace. Surprisingly, this isn't confined only to the secular community. Even in our communities of faith it can be difficult to see the love and forgiveness that Jesus commands. If we are to lead others to Christ and heal our society, we need to show others the Way through our actions and words.

My prayer this Lenten season is that each of us will love our neighbor, exercise forgiveness, and be the example for a lost world.