“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl
Alesha and I have been married for almost 7 years now. It seems like yesterday that I stood at the Altar waiting for my bride to come down the aisle. I would like to tell that in the past 7 years our marriage has been perfect. I would also like to tell you that Alesha is married to a man (me) who is perfect and never makes mistakes. But if I were to tell you either of those things, I’d be lying. In fact, there are days in our marriage, when our broken, sinful, wounded hearts get the best of us.
If I am going to be honest, during those moments, when I step back and look at what is happening – not what my brokenness perceives to be happening – my reactions are very different. For example, there are two times (I’m sure more) in 7 years, where I can pin point how my wounded heart caused me to over-react to something Alesha said.
You see, with me, the lies (wounds) that my heart believes to be truth often times blur the reality of what I hear. In other words, Alesha can say one thing, but my wounded heart interprets it completely different and completely out context. And it is usually when I am not being aware of this that an argument occurs (thankfully I have a great wife who knows me sometimes better than I know myself). But, if I take a second to step back, listen to my heart and then invite God to reveal the truth of what is happening, I can usually react to situations in a very different way.
This Sunday, we will hear a Gospel that we are very familiar with – the Cleansing of the temple ( John 2: 13-25). I love this Gospel because it shows us that Jesus isn’t a weak man. He’s not a push over. I’ve read this Gospel hundreds of times. This past Wednesday, at our Come Lord Jesus group, a teenager pointed out something I had never noticed. Jesus, upon entering the temple and seeing the disrespect happening in His Father’s house, stopped. He didn’t react immediately. In fact, He bent down and braided a whip. He thought about what was going on in His heart. He contemplated how to react. He stepped out of the situation for a moment. Then He reacted.ed heart interprets it completely different and completely out context. And it is usually when I am not being aware of this that an argument occurs. But, if I take a second to step back and listen to my heart and then invite God to reveal the truth of what is happening, I can usually react to situations in a very different way.
This weekend is the 3rd Sunday of Lent. We are probably experiencing the reality of sacrifices by now. We are probably, in the words of Mark Hart, feeling the battle between our flesh and our spirits. If this is where you are, praise God – you have truly entered in to the Lenten Season. This new insight to this Gospel shows me that it is in Lent where we have an opportunity to step back, grasp the reality of what’s going on in our flesh and in our hearts. And in this reality, we cling to Jesus and realize our dependency on Him – our flesh is weak (Mark 14:38).
In stepping back, we learn more about ourselves and our weaknesses. When we invite Jesus into the moment, we lean into the hope of the Resurrection. And isn’t that what Lent is about, preparing our hearts for the Glory of the Resurrection.
I pray that our Lent has been and will continue to be a time of getting know ourselves, so that you realize our desperate need of Jesus. And in that realization we can begin to react differently to the lies of our flesh.