The Season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday. The word Lent comes from a word that means lengthening. Lent gives us space to be intentional about our journey with Jesus, especially as it relates to the cross. Lent is an invitation to spend time thinking about the cross. To ask questions like, what difference does Jesus’ death on the cross mean in my day-to-day life? Does it make a difference, how, and why? How does the cross affect my understanding of pain and how God reacts?

The season of Lent is a 40 day period that runs from now until the night before Easter. Sundays are excluded from these 40 days because each Sunday we remember not only the cross but the resurrection.

Our son Peter is a sophomore at Aspen High School. The other day he shared an essay he wrote for an English class. After reading it, it struck me that his words are not only wise but present each of us something to think and pray about this Lenten season. Here are some excerpts from his essay, with his permission to share.

To be blatantly clear, people want to feel loved; the way the supply of love comes suggests you earn love. No, no, no, wrong, people deserve love, I deserve love. Controversy spikes from those who have differing opinions; why would this be the case? Because we are all raised in different settings with different challenges, it is necessary to understand that we cannot compare our lives with others, specifically life challenges, because of the way we have all been brought up in this life. It is unfair to believe your challenges are harder/more difficult than others. With this understanding, we would not have these controversial problems because people would feel understood. More relationships would be easily ignited, for there would be an understanding of common humanity, love.

When I enter a room, I try to grant others with my full respect. Don’t get me wrong, I fail a lot, and I have flaws, but with this demeanor of life, I have the exceptional capability of listening. This is why love is so simple but hard to have and share; we are not taught this in school. Instead, we are taught how to be right and the steps to get there. We need to spread this message to our young generations that it is more important to love and listen than to be right, BECAUSE WE WILL NEVER ALL BE RIGHT.

Peter’s words, “it is more important to love and listen than to be right” are not only precisely correct, but the way of Jesus. As we reflect upon the cross, let us not forget that those who thought being right was more important than love are those who hung Jesus up on a cross and killed him. The insistence on being right leads to destruction, hatred, animosity, division, and much of the negativity we see in our country today.

Love demands that we yield. Love requires selflessness. Love gives up the insistence on being right. When our focus in life becomes the way of Jesus, love itself, the need to be right fades into the background. When love is our focus, we will not only discover the beauty and wonder that is often deeply hidden within every person we encounter, but why love is the whole point to begin with.