Read Psalm 32

Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
While I kept silence, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.
Many are the torments of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.
Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

from Rev. Sanford Downs, First Christian Church, Parkersburg:

It may seem strange to talk about the way to be happy during Lent, but the psalmist says, “Happy are they whose sins are forgiven.” Our sins have been forgiven through Jesus Christ. Too often, people pretend they don’t have any sin. They often harshly judge others for every transgression, but deny their own. This does not lead to happiness.

Happiness is found by confessing our sins to God and then accepting God’s forgiveness, which also means forgiving ourselves. This, then is the real purpose of Lent. It is not a time of sadness or want. It is a time to confess our sins to God, to repent of everything we have done wrong – and everything we failed to do right – so that we may accept forgiveness and truly be happy in the Lord.

Forgiving God, I have not always done everything as I should have;
so forgive me and help me to forgive myself and everyone else,
that I may be filled with your happiness.
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