Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lent Day 33: Thankful for foot-in-mouth forgiveness

Have you ever said something you wish you could retract (on the spot!)? Reading Matthew 16-17 is an interesting exposé of Jesus' tolerance for foot-in-mouth disease, which strikes most of us occasionally.

In Chapter 16 of Matthew, Peter understands and responds to the role of Jesus as Messiah, the long-awaited Christ: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!"

Jesus applauds his understanding and sensitivity to the Father's revelation.

Then in the next chapter, Peter is privileged to see Jesus transfigured and conversing with Moses and Elijah, representatives of the law and the prophets. Foot-in-mouth, here he comes.

"Can we build you a few cabins so you can stay awhile?" he asks Jesus, who seems to ignore his outburst. Oops.

Jesus rebuked Peter for his words of self-interest another time, saying, "Get behind me, Satan." (Mark 8:33) Sheesh. Talk about good intentions that go the wrong way.

Some of us are savvy with words and guard our tongues carefully. Others get in trouble by speaking at the wrong time or to the wrong person. God, who knows the intentions of the heart, will hear and can forgive what we speak in the coming week. We may need that forgiveness.

Those of us shouting "Hosanna in the Highest" on this Palm Sunday need to guard against crucifying and denying Christ with our words at other times.

The Holy Week before Easter brings many reminders to watch what we say. Sometimes we have bad intentions behind our rhetoric. For those times, we need to repent and watch carefully, to discipline our speech.

Other times, others who don't understand us may hear words inappropriately spoken and attribute us with bad motives. In those times it's good to listen before we speak, to be able to say those things that bring healing and reconciliation when we have brought hurt.

Read more:
*See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 11:26-28

*The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46

*Jesus said, 'How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.'" Mark 4:30–32

Moravian Prayer: Holy Redeemer, we thank you for the blessing of grace and for showing us the eternal promise through the life, death and resurrection of your son, our pearl of great value. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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