So here we in the season of Lent. Often times Lent is referred to in a rather negative way, insofar as it is a time of giving things up and going without. And while, yes, this can be difficult at sometimes (okay, a lot of times) we really need Lent. We need time to get away from all the things we make idols of and all the ways we don't see ourselves as we truly are. It seems like we sell out to the world often, trading our true dignity and being for illusion and darkness.

Is there someone in your life that you really struggle to get along with? Someone that you talk about a lot or gossip about? Those situations can be tough. We turn negative and blame these people for robbing us of our happiness, self-esteem and "virtue." Or perhaps certain people get on our nerves and we say to ourselves, "That person is negative, all she does is complain and gossip."

I would say, let us look at ourselves. People, for the most part, are incapable of robbing us of our happiness and self-worth. Oh, we can allow them to take that from us, but they can't take it from us unless we are willing to give it away. When I find that I am being very negative and complaining a lot, what I really need to do is step back, go somewhere by myself and start asking some questions. I ask myself, "Am I jealous of that person?" "Am I disappointed with myself, do I have unrealistic expectations about myself and others?" "Am I angry or hurt inside about something but won't admit it?"

I think that gossip and negativity is often the result of buried anger. It's more acceptable to behave this way than have the guts to go to that person and speak to them face-to-face. Or perhaps we still have a lot of unresolved anger from our past that continually comes out as complaining, gossip and negativity. Perhaps we think that by denying anger it will go away. However, it does not. It comes out whether we like it or not! We need a positive and constructive way to let out our anger and frustration- where we can be angry and sin not.

People can be a mirror of ourselves. Many times the things that irritate us so are the very things that we ourselves do to others. God loves us so much that He sends people to heal us. That's what Lent is all about. God is literally dying to heal us.

A priest from a parish near here was quoted as saying, "Prayer is just opening yourself up to the One who pursues you." God seeks us! God wants to heal us and be in an intimate relationship with us! All we need to do is seek to be open and honest. Just as a relationship between people is difficult without honesty, so it is with God. When we are honest with God, ourselves and others, God takes all that is broken within us and returns to us His love, grace and peace.

I don't know about you, but I think that's the best deal ever!


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