Lenten Scripture Reflection | Saturday: Psalm 5; Jeremiah 50.29-46; James 3

From: Hannah Bansil

Every morning of my childhood, over the breakfast oatmeal, my family memorized the Catechism for Young Children. Many of these simple question and response pairs still come to mind as I go about my day. In the season of Lent the one I think about most often is the question ‘What is it to repent?’ and its answer ‘To be sorry for sin and to hate and forsake it because it is displeasing to God.’

Such a simple phrase but with a deeply complex understanding of our motivations and actions. At times in my life I have struggled to be sorry for my sin. I have loved my sin and been unwilling to name it as sin at all. At other times I have felt a loathing for my sin, a deep repulsion with my own actions but a total inability to break the patterns that held me. But I think that the power in the phrase really lies in it’s second half ‘because it is displeasing to God.’ 

The psalmist says “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.” I often see lent as a bit of a self-betterment remodeling project, a time to get rid of mental clutter or bad habits and move toward ‘living my best life’, to use the parlance of our time. But to repent isn’t to rid myself of the things that displease me but to examine my heart for the things that displease God. Jonathan Edwards puts it like this. “Love to God tends to an abhorrence of sin against God, and so to our being humbled before him for it. So much as anything is loved, so much will its contrary be hated; therefore so much as anyone loves God, so much will they have an abhorrence of sin against God; and having an abhorrence of sin against God will tend to our abhorring ourselves for it, and so humbling ourselves for it before God.”

My prayer this lent is for a growing love to God and a resulting hatred of all that displeases him.

I live in JP with my husband Amit and a very wide eyed eight month old baby. I am always up for coffee or a conversation about books.