By Joel A. Hess –
A couple months ago, as we were recording another fun episode of Ringside, the guys were trying to figure out an elf on the shelf for Lent. Immediately, Ross Engel threw out “Judas on the jukebox.” It’s a great name, but who has a jukebox? While many eligible and some profane names were tossed around, my buddy Dave Rufner came up with “gnome in the home.” Get them while they’re hot!
If someone really wants to get serious about self-discipline during Lent, this little guy is just the answer. Set him up at night to surprise the kids in the morning. Maybe place him next to their iPhone. Perhaps perch him on the cookie jar or in the fridge next to the Ben and Jerry’s. While the family practices fasting, abstaining from chocolate, social media, or whatever self-disciplinary tools are being employed, this little rat will make them feel guilty and remind them of their failure. Happy Lent!
I jest. Actually, I just changed my mind! Go ahead and get a little gnome in the home. Let him accuse away! Let him throw all your sins at you all through Lent. But on Good Friday, just like Paul Koch recommended for the elf on the shelf, stick a cross through the little snot. It is finished!
Sadly, many of us don’t need a gnome in the home to remind us of our failures. Some of us have a little voice pointing out our self-made disasters year round. There’s a gnome in our head. We might call him Satan, the accuser. Perhaps he’s reminding you of that divorce five years ago or your present struggle with porn. Better yet, I’ll bet he’s convincing you that you haven’t repented enough. You don’t feel sorry enough. You haven’t shown enough fruits of repentance. Therefore, forgiveness is not so certain. Or maybe he’s putting adverbs to faith, asking, “Do you really believe?’
What is your gnome in the home accusing you of?
While we do well to reflect and repent of our rebellions and wanderings, Lent is definitely not a time to rehash old sins. Sometimes we should question the sincerity of our repentance and our faith. However that’s a dangerous rabbit hole to get lost in. Are we ever sorry enough? No. If we think about ourselves too long, we end up digging a pit.
Thank God Lent is not about us! It is about Jesus. It’s about Jesus smashing Satan in the mouth with His pierced hands. It’s about God’s total erasure of all your sins, not because you were sorry enough but because He is gracious enough. There’s no sense bringing them back up to God; He doesn’t even remember them! Lent is about Jesus saying “It is finished” every time you bring up your past and want to look at it again.