Today begins the season of Lent. Many will choose to give up something for Lent, seeking to share in Jesus’ Sacrificial Gift.
Many will deny themselves of something they value, choosing to focus more intently on Jesus during the time leading up to Easter.
While anything that draws us closer to The Lord is a good thing, Lent provides a unique opportunity for us to do more than just sacrificing something.
In fact, Jesus Himself gave Clear Direction, not only for Lent, but for Life.
“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire Mercy, not sacrifice.'”
The season of Lent is the perfect time to merge sacrifice into compassionate Acts of Mercy.
What if we chose some of these ways to sacrifice and show Mercy?
In traffic, let the person who is trying to cut you off, go ahead of you. Pray for them as you do, asking The Lord to extend His Mercy through them to others.
Instead of racing for that perfect parking place, let someone else have it. Thank God for providing for that person and for you, as you find another spot.
For every time you go out to eat, treat someone else to a meal. It may be that you treat someone who is in the restaurant or it may be that you get a gift card when you pay your bill. Let them know it is The Lord Who has provided their meal. It is He Who wants to dine with them. If there is opportunity, thank The Lord in their presence.
Think of that person you have been avoiding for whatever reason and invite them to coffee or call them on the phone. No email or text. Have a personal connection. Ask them how they are doing and really listen. Let God’s Caring for them manifest through you.
Allow yourself to be interrupted. Consider each interruption a divine appointment. Give each person your priority. Allow yourself to be touched by others. Be approachable.
Pray for someone in person. Invite them into His Presence through your presence. Touch them if they are willing. Jesus was “Hands on.” He extended His Mercy through touch.
Give up your need to be right and make your point. Let God’s Truth rise, even if it means letting someone else purge themselves of untruth first. Listen and hear their need beneath what they say.
When someone asks you to do something, give them more than what they ask. Go the second and third mile. Fill their cup to overflowing. Praise God for providing!
Forgive and remember (not forget). Forgive everyone who has wronged you. Ask God to reveal anyone you may have forgotten. Forget the offense, but remember the person. Pray God’s Blessings upon them. Remember God’s Mercy in forgiving you.
Lay aside your life, so others can see Jesus in you. This is the truest celebration of Lent and Life.
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”