I’ve been enjoying the daily devotional posts of The Lent Project, from Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture & the Arts. The writer of the devotional for April 5th focused on the Sanhedrin’s condemnation of Jesus (from Luke 22:66-71), and she shared honestly how she sees herself often standing with the Sanhedrin on that same pedestal of judgment:
How often do I find myself where the Sanhedrin was that day, standing in judgment of the one who I have been waiting for. The one who had come to save me from myself, but whom I could not fully accept. You see, I want to make God in my own image. I want to be the one who dictates what the Savior looks like, sounds like, where he is from, and what he will do to bring justice. My justice. I stand there, mumbling along with others like me. Not ones who are lost in their sin, but even worse, the ones who are lost in their found-ness. And so I condemn him. Not because he is wrong, but because he is right and because intellectually, I believe him.
The thought that there could be another category of lostness–that a person could be “lost in their found-ness”–is unsettling. Unsettling because it is true. And unsettling because it sounds an awful lot like me.
Like the elder brother in Jesus’ parable of the Lost Sons (in Luke 15), I too am responsible and dutiful, obedient and “good.” Like that elder brother, I have not run off to ruin my life and bring shame on my family. And like that elder brother, I protest with righteous indignation at the unfairness of the father to lavish his love on one who was so obviously and deliberately lost rather than on me whose hard work should have earned it by now.
In my self-righteous insistence that I am found and not lost, I am blind to my actual condition. And in that unacknowledged lostness, I condemn the very One who is extending mercy and love to me, preferring instead to bank on my responsible obedience as a sufficient means of gaining the Father’s love.
Oh how patient and merciful the Father has been to me! And oh, what grace that He would open the eyes of the found to see the reality of our lostness and the insufficiency of our self-salvation projects. My heart resonates deeply with the prayer that closes the Lent devotional:
I am lost in my own found-ness, but long to be as one who is so desperate for true salvation that I take him just as he is because he sees me just as I am. Father, forgive me, for I know exactly what I am doing by denying who you are because you challenge who I am. You confront me in my comfortable religious life. Somehow let me be with the notorious ones who are drawn to you and know they need you now more than anything or anyone they have ever needed before or will need again. I want to believe with my entire being that you are who you say you are. Let that be confirmation of my salvation and not of my own condemnation.
Amen! [Read the whole devotional here]