The word iniquity is mentioned in the bible many times. Often it is associated with the words transgression and trespass to refer to “sin” or man’s disobedience to the Lord. Some would say, “iniquity means guilt worthy of punishment. It is sin at its worst.”
Looking up sources other than the bible, I came across a simple meaning of the word iniquity, which is defined as “unfair behavior.” This definition struck me; it is simple yet powerful.
Incorporating the non-biblical definition to the foundation verse for the day makes more meaning to me than taking the word iniquity as a ‘punishable sin.’ The phrase ‘unfair behavior’ resonates a more compassionate and gentle image, rather than penalizing. Like what the passage is conveying on returning to the Lord, it is reassuring to know that if we decide to come back home, no matter how messed up we are, we will find Him waiting for us. No matter how unfair, unacceptable and hurtful our behavior to Him may be, He offers reconciliation.
In the reading, it says that if we (as Israel the people of God) returned to Him, we would be fruitful. He would be our source, like dew. He would water us so we would “flourish like the grain, blossom like the vine.” Our fruitfulness would influence others. He would cause it and we would be His hands doing His works. We would be restored.
This is God’s divine forgiveness – unrelenting, it never runs out. This is God’s faithfulness to His promise, despite our unfaithfulness. This is God’s mercy – transforming. He grants all these, we only have to repent.
Today is the 23rd day of Lent. How far along are we in reconnecting with our Lord? Have we even started thinking about it? Sometimes it’s a shame to accept that we are too self-conscious about the Lenten practices and rituals in committing to fast, abstain, sacrifice, give alms, etc. but our relationship with the Lord is “untouched.” We volunteer to serve at Lenten parish activities but our hearts are still heavy with un-forgiveness, hatred, hopelessness, pride, greed and all sorts of unconfessed burdens. It is like being too busy preparing for a birthday party but the celebrant has been taken for granted.
This day forward, may we make time to humbly open our hearts to the Lord and let Him know we’re sorry. Perhaps, we don’t even have to say anything. He would never demand for us to utter our unconfessed burdens word for word. He doesn’t have to hear them aloud because He already knows them. We only need to be repentant.
More than our Lenten practices, what our Lord needs from us is a contrite heart. May we take that step to return to Him and let Him come into our hearts.
Father, I can’t thank you enough for another opportunity to know you again.
This time, it is much deeper because I have come to realize how infinite your forgiveness is.
You never tire of forgiving me.
You never count score on how many times I have hurt you.
On this day, Lord, I surrender my heart to you.
Take all that is not of you and make me new again.