And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.“ Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
During Lent we often do a bit of spiritual housecleaning. It shouldn’t surprise us when we find some dirt and grime in our lives. That’s an important part of the process, but we need to be careful and not get stuck there. In Ignatian spirituality we frequently use the term “loved sinner.” There is an important tension in that phrase and if we focus too much on one part at the expense of the other, we can run into problems. We need to hold them both together.
We need God. We are sinners. We are also loved. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved.” At this midpoint in the season of Lent, as we find ourselves scrubbing all that dirt and grime, it is really important to check ourselves and remember that the loved part is just as important as the sinner part.
God our Father, your Word, Jesus Christ, spoke peace to a sinful world and brought mankind the gift of reconciliation by the suffering and death he endured. Teach us, the people who bear his name, to follow the example he gave us: may our faith, hope and charity turn hatred to love, conflict to peace, and death to eternal life. Amen.
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