Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs on my head; many are my enemies without cause. . . . Psalm 69:4

 O God, you are aware of my foolish sins; my guild is not hidden from you. Psalm 69:5

 Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Psalm 69:16

I have always found that sharing my thoughts for the Lenten Devotional is a preparation for the season. When I receive my list of readings, I always find a passage in the scriptures that resonates with me and it is easy to share my thoughts. This year, with the pandemic and all the political unrest in our country, I looked forward to finding a distraction in the scriptures. Instead I found Psalms 69, a song of emotional distress and anguish. It spoke to me.

This Psalm is attributed to David and he writes in a time when he is in great crisis. He has many critics and feels he has enemies who hate him without reason. This feels so timely. As I reflect on last year, I think about the Black Lives Matter protests and a very contentious election. I see people hate each other because of the color of their skin, their political affiliations, the country of their birth, and their religious beliefs. I see people who hate an enemy that they do know. When I watched the events unfold at the Capital, the hatred that was on display for our public officials brought me to despair. I sat at my desk and cried.

As David asked for help, he also reflected on his own sins and like David, I am not without guilt. I would not say that I hate people who don’t share my political beliefs, but I must admit that there are times when I find my heart is hardened and I am intolerant. This journey of softening my heart and listening to my enemies comes easier in knowing that we have a God who listens to us in crisis and who hears our prayers.

This year I am preparing for Lent with a promise to pray for tolerance. I believe that we are a better people than the actions and hatred that I see on the news. I will pray to be an example of what it is to live by Faith. I hope that if these words touch you, you will join me in praying for the healing of our Nation.

Psalm 51:1-18(19-20), Psalm 69:1-23; Jeremiah 12:1-16; Philippians 3:1-14; John 12:9-19