What matters to God? Do our sins, even if we repent? Do our virtuous actions count even if we turn away? What really matters to God?
The prophet Ezekiel makes it clear. Whether one has sinned and converted, or was virtuous and fell back into sin, the most important aspect of life is following the will of God.
God does not want us to die. He wants us to live. God rejoices when a sinner repents and follows God. Likewise, there are no foolproof guarantees that allow us to sin without consequence.
What is important is seeking to discover the will of God in all that we do. We may feel at times like we have done too much sinning in the past, and God will simply turn us away. But this is not true. Time and again we read in the gospels the truly repentant persons being welcomed by Jesus. The woman at the well with five husbands, the woman caught in the act of adultery, Simon Peter denying Jesus. These are all instances of sin. But in each instance, the faith of the person was saving. They trusted and believed.
We may feel a sense of pride that we are “good people” and pay little concern to the will of God. We think that will carry us, even if we sin. But that is not how the life of holiness works. Even if we are virtuous, we do not receive license to sin. In all we do, we must strive to follow God.
This Lent is about turning away from sin to embrace the virtue and goodness of a relationship with Jesus. It is admitting we cannot go it alone, and in all we do we must both realize we are profoundly loved and that we must love God and neighbor.
Let us pray. Dear Jesus, sometimes I feel my sins are too much for you to forgive. I become discouraged when I consider the times I have failed you and hurt others. Help me to trust more and more in your mercy and forgiveness. And when I follow you, keep me from taking that love for granted. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Music: Cheezy Piano Medley by Alexander Nakarada