“The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.”  Nahum 1:3

“Do you imagine, whoever you are, that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance?”  Romans 2:3, 4

Another car story (as told by a man).  “I looked over and there was a woman doing 75 … face up her rearview mirror putting on her eyeliner! Next thing she was halfway over in my lane!  It scared me so bad I dropped my donut.  Grabbing for the donut, my cell phone fell away from my ear into the coffee between my legs and disconnected an important call.  Women just should not be driving.”

Silly story but it leads to a characteristic true of many people, myself included – the tendency to deny responsibility for our own actions, to shift blame, to criticize and judge others. 

As a child, at home … “my sister did it.”  At school, I played dumb … “Wasn’t me.  I know nothing about it.”  As a teenager, I blamed those I was out with ... “It was their fault.  I tried to tell them.”

Growing up, shifting blame seemed like a good idea – get off the hook and avoid “the look”.  I realize now, of course, how much my parents knew.  The peaceful supper table was not ignorance, but love – and forgiveness.

Lent is a season of repentance and forgiveness.  We acknowledge our failures and mistakes, still happening after all the lessons of the past.  We focus on the cross where our sins died, along with our Savior.  We ask Jesus, for his sake, to change us, that we see and acknowledge our wrongs, and that understanding and kindness and forgiveness become a way of life, not just a 6-week season in the spring.  Will we arise April 5, and live knowing we are indeed forgiven – and forgiving?

Loving God, living with your grace, may we forgive those who sin against us, as you forgive us our sins.  Amen  

Verla Olson