[The following is a Lenten Devotional piece I did for my school’s Lenten Devotional (duh). It is based off of the readings for Wednesday in the second week of Lent (according to the 1979 BCP), specifically 1 Cor 5. I have decided to (and have finally gotten around to…yes, I am that slow) posting it here. We were asked to incorporated a small prayer at the end, which I’ve included in the post, for what it’s worth.]
I read and am grateful that I’m not the object of Paul’s harsh words in 1 Corinthians 5. I am an observer, shaking my head, whispering, “Tsk, tsk, tsk” as Paul strongly exhorts the Corinthian Church to expel the immoral brother. His sin is a wretched one: he has taken his father’s wife as his lover. I, a faithfully married woman, am free from Paul’s accusations. I can sit back, relax, and observe; Paul is not talking about me.
And then, 5:11: “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat” (emphasis mine).
Convicted. His words invade me, penetrating every part, weighing heavy on my conscience. I now see myself described and addressed. I am, in reality, an immoral person. My thoughts betray me, for they are wretched; my actions, evidence against me, for they are self-focused. Even my dreams remind me that I will not be judged innocent. I slander, I have idols, I am greedy, prideful, prone to anger…
It is not the absence of immorality, but the presence of repentance, remorse, and regret that is the dividing line between me and the one who is to be expelled. I am not the brazen faced, seductive woman of Proverbs, lurking around the corner eager with alluring words (Prov. 7, 9). Rather, I am the woman caught in adultery, dragged before the Temple elders in shame, accused correctly of my sins, hoping beyond all hope that someone greater than I am will have mercy. Just when the stones should be thrown, they are not; they drop (John 8:1-11). Jesus intervenes, silences my correct accusers, and I lay weeping at His feet, grateful and filled with love for Him who saved me. Because I have been loved by this One, I am not judged immoral, worthy of death as I should be; rather, I am judged righteous, and receive, undeservedly, what I shouldn’t — life.
Lord, during this time, turn our stony, proud, deceitful, betraying hearts into ones that love You; hearts that weep, in love and extreme gratitude, for what it is You have saved us from. Move passionately within us, stir us up, cause us to rejoice over and to love You with every part of our being.