Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 8, 2013

A positive minute: Lent and God’s love

Dr. Michael Layne
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

16 “We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be, though we once judged Christ in that way. 17 Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18 God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.

19 “What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace. 20 We were sent to speak for Christ, and God is begging you to listen to our message. We speak for Christ and sincerely ask you to make peace with God. 21 Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so that Christ could make us acceptable to God.”

In this second reading for the fourth Sunday in Lent, we find some important statements but, the opening sentence in verse 16 says, “We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be.”

Lent gives us a wonderful opportunity to remove something else from our human nature if we allow it to and that is being judgmental. How many times each day do we hear someone say something about another that you know is not exactly correct or, how often have you said something about a person full well knowing you are being judgmental about them?

Most of us have had the experience of either passing judgment about someone or, being on the receiving end of such judgmental conversations. It is so easy for us to get caught up in a conversation that brings up a persons’ past.

However, verse 17 makes it clear that when we have repented we become a new person.  We must assume that repentance is in this equation because we understand that is how we become a new person in Christ Jesus. The real part of knowing Christ is living for Christ on a daily basis and the Christian life is an ongoing development of relationship with Him.

People need to hear they are forgiven. They need to unload the burdens and this is one reason modern psychotherapy has become so popular.

Please do not misunderstand me. There are many people who can benefit from a mental health specialist and good counsel. But if you are in the church and you are carrying a baggage of sin that is to be unloaded before God. Psychotherapy does not usually offer help for sin issues unless you are seeing a Christian or Pastoral counselor.

Trying to be good will not get us into heaven but, a repentant heart and a humble attitude will make all the difference in the world. The next time you feel like passing judgment upon someone or begin to speak negatively about them, try to find something positive about that person. If you are really sincere with the Lord in your life, ASK Him to help you with your attitude.

Someone reading this column may have feeling of judgment toward this writer because you don’t agree. Then I would ask that you pray and ask the Lord to help you at least understand the position of this writer and then pray for me.

This is a great way to become a new YOU! After all, God so loved the world that He sent His only Son. John 3:16

Don’t forget a special Maundy Thursday service, March 28 at 6 p.m. with Bishop Layne. Call or email for location.

Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and can be reached at 812-662-5154 or doclayne@yahoo.com.