Grocery shopping has its charms. Aisles brimming with culinary treasures awaken my inner chef to the possibilities. Sample ladies entice me to devour tasty morsels of chicken Kiev or artisan cheese. The flower market calls me especially in Minnesota’s late winter hibernation to smell and touch the hyacinths and dream of spring.
But grocery shopping also has its temptations, especially if the shopper happens to be forswearing sugar for Lent.
Oh, the sweet pain as the decadent aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies wafts thru the aisles and draws me toward the bakery counter where I, alas, commit the crime and purchase not one but two delightfully warm gooey gems and with nary a thought of contrition devour them whole on the spot.
Ah, what have I done?
My noble intentions and stout resolution get lost in a sea of remorse as I ponder the weight of my unwise and impulsive decision. I can hide the evidence on the outside but inside I sense an uneasy mix of guilt and failure. I can rationalize that it was only a small offense in the grand scheme of possible crimes, but I am still left with a glaring example of my own imperfection. I have sinned.
The Apostle Paul speaks to this reality in the book of Romans. He says, “My own behavior baffles me. For I find myself not doing what I really want to do but doing what I really loathe. … I often find that I have the will to do good, but not the power. That is, I don’t accomplish the good I set out to do, and the evil I don’t really want to do I find I am always doing….In my mind I am God’s willing servant, but in my own nature I am bound fast, as I say, to the law of sin and death. It is an agonizing situation, and who on earth can set me free from the clutches of my sinful nature? I thank God there is a way out through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
There’s Hope. Glorious Hope.
The hymn writer Horatio G. Spafford said it best:
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!’
A shaft of Light emerges thru an open door into the pitch-black room of my guilty soul piercing the darkness, illuminating and transforming all inside by its own radiant Power.
A Way Out. Yes, indeed. Thank God.
My Lenten confection redeemed.
Phillips, J. B. “Romans 8:14-20.” The New Testament in Modern English. New York: Harper Collins, 1962. Print.
It Is Well With My Soul lyrics by Horatio G Spafford – 1873 – found in http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/It_Is_Well_with_My_Soul/
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