Who wants a con­trite heart?

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - News -

Dur­ing the sea­son of Lent in the Chris­tian church we use a spe­cial prayer of pe­ti­tion for a con­trite heart. But who wants a con­trite heart? Be­fore we ask God for this we need to know what the word means.

To be con­trite means to be sorry for things we have done that we ought not to have done. The words and thoughts and ac­tions that have of­fended both God and our neigh­bour. In our hearts we chew around for­giv­ing and for­give­ness like a dog chew­ing a bone. We must ad­mit it is not an easy thing to do. For­give­ness is not some sweet smelling ideal that can be dis­persed like some air fresh­ener sprayed from a can. For­give­ness for us is painfully dif­fi­cult. And for God too. His for­give­ness comes at great cost. The life of his only be­got­ten Son. The truth is, we can­not be for­given un­less we know how to for­give. “For­give us our tres­passes as we for­give those who tres­pass against us” is how we learnt to pray. And we are as­sured by Je­sus in His gospel that if we for­give oth­ers our heav­enly Fa­ther will also for­give us.*

A lit­tle boy got into a fight with his brother over some game they were play­ing. When his brother wanted to make up, the boy re­fused and would not speak to his brother all day. When bedtime came, the mother said to the boy who was still an­gry, “Don’t you think you should for­give your brother be­fore you go to sleep? Re­mem­ber that the Bi­ble says do not let the sun go down on your anger”.* The up­set boy had a puz­zled look on his face. He thought for a few mo­ments and then blurted out, “But how can I keep the sun from go­ing down?”

Even Chris­tians get an­gry and hold grudges. They of­ten for­get that verse of scrip­ture. We can­not change an­other per­son’s mind but we are re­spon­si­ble for our own at­ti­tude. We can’t keep the sun from go­ing down but we must learn to for­give. “For ev­ery minute you are an­gry you lose 60 sec­onds of hap­pi­ness.”

The great­est les­son about how to for­give is taught at the same place where we see the great­est demon­stra­tion of wrong­do­ing - at the Cross. At the time of His cru­ci­fix­ion, which was the great­est wrong­do­ing in the world, Je­sus cried out, “Fa­ther for­give them”.

The Cross is also where we see the great­est demon­stra­tion of love. That heart­felt plea on our be­half rings down through two thou­sand years. Je­sus for­gave those who cru­ci­fied him, and it took a lot of love to do that. It was not nails that kept Je­sus hang­ing on the cross, it was love. And that’s an­other rea­son why we have so much trou­ble with for­giv­ing - it’s the lack of love in our heart. The lack of love puts lim­its on our for­give­ness when God has no limit to his for­give­ness, so nei­ther should we. We should for­give as many times as it is nec­es­sary. “We can stop for­giv­ing oth­ers when Christ stops for­giv­ing us.”

Lov­ing and for­giv­ing is what the story of the Cross is all about. Di­vine and hu­man for­give­ness must go hand in hand. In fact, I think that lov­ing and for­giv­ing is the cross that Je­sus calls us to bear. It’s so hard to do! But since we are made in God’s im­age He will pro­duce His kind of love in our heart if we open it up to Him for recre­ation. So when it come to for­giv­ing, ask your­self just how much do you love the per­son whom you must for­give, what­ever the wrong might be. This is a great spir­i­tual truth that we must un­der­stand when we ask God to cre­ate and make in us new and con­trite hearts. We need to know what it means to be truly sorry for our sins and the sea­son of Lent gives us that op­por­tu­nity.

*(Eph.4:26) *(Mt.6:14)

Rev Bil­lard The Co­droy Val­ley Win­ter Car­ni­val runs for a week with the theme “Be Happy, Be Seen.” For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact co-chair Frank Au­coin at 955-3446 or 214-1285. An in­for­ma­tion ses­sion is avail­able to New­found­land and Labrador res­i­dents. Any­one in­ter­ested in regis­ter­ing for the ses­sions should call 709-576-0608 or email firstlink@alzheimernl.ca. The se­ries is for in­di­vid­u­als and their fam­i­lies di­ag­nosed with Alzheimer’s dis­ease or a re­lated de­men­tia. In­cludes ses­sions on an overview of de­men­tia, cop­ing strate­gies, com­mu­nity re­sources and sup­ports. Are you in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing? Western Health cur­rently has open­ings. Western Health is look­ing for vol­un­teers to as­sist as greeters at Western Me­mo­rial Re­gional Hos­pi­tal and Dr. Charles L. LeGrow Health Cen­tre. Our greeters help wel­come vis­i­tors and clients and as­sist them in find­ing lo­ca­tions through­out the build­ing. For more in­for­ma­tion about this op­por­tu­nity, or if you think you can help, please call our Vol­un­teer Re­sources De­part­ment at 709-637-

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