Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 13
Monday in Second Week of Lent
“Being Kind to the Ungrateful and the Selfish”
It’s hard to read Daniel’s prayer and not think “pitiful, groveling whiner!” But look at it from Daniel’s perspective: Israel is in exile, with little hope of return, threatened with death at the hand of her enemies. Who would not bear their heart out to God in such a time as this, seeking his deliverance? Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from Daniel: to avoid complacency about our own eternal lives, and to diligently seek God. Thankfully, our God does not need groveling to convince him. Look at today’s Luke reading again. Tucked between Jesus’ commands to love our enemies and judge not, is a divine explanation—“for [your Father] is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:35-36). In other words, as great as there is a distance between two enemies, so is our distance from God; yet God has drawn so close to us, even becoming one of us, in Jesus Christ. As much as we are ungrateful and selfish, God still sacrificed himself for us on the Cross. We judge others and withhold forgiveness from them; yet God, who can rightfully judge us, chooses instead to withhold condemnation from us. Rather he lavishes grace upon grace upon us— good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, in our laps. Maybe it’s not God who needs convincing to be merciful to us, but we who need convincing to be merciful to each other. For the measure we give, will be the measure we receive.
Let thy Spirit, O Lord, come into the midst of us to wash us with the pure water of repentance, and prepare us to be always a living sacrifice unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.