Last week I felt pretty good. Maybe you did too.
I was thinking, “Boy I’m glad I’m not Kim Kardashian, Rick Perry, or Joe Paterno!” And then there’s Jerry Sandusky who, this week admitted to “Horsing around” with kids. Each of them has had their mistakes broadcast, ridiculed, autopsied. Their intellect, integrity, and wisdom were brought into question.
My response? “Phew! Glad I dodged those bullets!”
“Can’t BELIEVE they were so stupid, evil, clueless, out-of-control…”
“I would NEVER have…”
I may even have thought, “I’m thankful I’ve never pulled a “Rick Perry” on national TV, bless his heart.”
And I felt just a little better about myself, focusing on THEM. You know THEM. All the others who I compare myself to who are much worse than I am.
Or not. Maybe my sins are just…different.
And more easily hidden.
What if the ugly stuff of my life (or yours) was replayed (over, and over, and over again) on the Today Show for millions to dissect and comment on what they would have done differently?
All this his has prompted me to return to an ancient prayer practice called the Jesus Prayer or the prayer of the heart.
Each time I hear something about someone else’s sin, I’m trying to use it as a prompt to pray the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Have you tried this prayer practice? I resisted it initially. How does this help our quest to have a better self-image?? And who likes using the word SINNER??!! But I am (and I hate to draw attention to this, but there’s a chance you might be too) And in praying this it’s a reminder that I’m dependent on the reconciling work of Jesus. Just like Kim. Stretching muscles of humility, centering, worship…
I haven’t bailed on my marriage, but I’ve bailed on other commitments. Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.
I haven’t forgotten key components of my economic strategy on national television, but I’ve gotten tons of other stuff wrong. Lord have mercy.
I haven’t covered up sexual sin, but I haven’t always confronted injustice. Lord have mercy.
Thankfully, at least this week, my sins aren’t being played on national television, but I’m just as in need of God’s mercy and Psalm 103:11-12 reassures me and all of us. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
What do you think of this? Is the Jesus prayer easy or hard for you?