A Practical Guide for Lenten Self-Examination

A great resource from the collection of articles in the Lenten Guide published by  St. Paul’s Anglican Baton Rouge.  The following article is by the Rev. Dr. S. Randall Toms, St. Paul’s rector.

Here’s an excerpt which addresses the purpose of self-examination and a few crucial hints for how to keep self-examination from becoming self-condemnation:

The purpose of this self-examination is not that we might merely feel guilty about our sins.  Rather, the purpose of this self-examination is to break our hearts and humble us so that we might seek forgiveness from our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Also, this self-examination will help to convince us of our need for the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us wrestle, fight, overcome, and forsake these sins. After examining yourself, do not allow the knowledge of your sinfulness to cause you to despair. Rather, use this knowledge to drive you to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  After you have thoroughly examined yourself, ask God to work in your heart, by the power of the Holy Spirit, a true sorrow and hatred for all your sins so that you might forsake them and strive against them all your life.  Realize that if you truly repent and turn to Christ, he will forgive you all your trespasses.  After examining yourself, it would be a good idea to pray the General Confession:

ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

I HIGHLY recommend reading the full article here.

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