Saturday in the First Week of Lent

by Derek Baker

Cross for Lent 2012
Genesis 41:1-13
Psalms 55, 138, 139
1 Cor 4:1-7
Mark 2:23-3:6

“I do not even judge myself.”

Have you ever been aware of the “self-talk” inside your head?

About a decade ago, I shared an office with three people; we were a largely happy bunch. But one day, in reaction to overwriting a file by mistake or some other electronic accident, I said in a dismissive rage: “Derek, you idiot!” I didn’t even realize I’d said it out loud, but the whole buzzing office came to a standstill. I remember feeling badly that my staff heard me raise my voice in anger, which I’d never done in front of them. That wasn’t exactly what bothered them, however.

“Is that how you usually talk to yourself?” my friend Mariko asked. I sheepishly admitted that sometimes I do. “That probably isn’t the healthiest voice to have in your head,” Kris said.

I’ve paid more attention to my self-talk since, but I still make self-judgments with words and in a tone that I would never direct toward anyone else. In fact, one time last year, I found myself saying angrily, “Derek, what kind of [expletive] loser talks to himself like that?” Even in my frustration I then had to laugh at the dark, spiraling irony.

Paul says it is the Lord who judges him … and me. To set anyone’s opinion of ourselves over God’s is to give them a power and influence that belongs only to the one who loves us unconditionally. To separate ourselves from that love by our own self-judgment is perhaps an even greater sin.

But see? I’m doing it again!

The Collect for Today:

O God, by your Word you marvelously carry out the work of reconciliation: Grant that in our Lenten fast we may be devoted to you with all our hearts, and united with one another in prayer and holy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.