What would you do if you received a letter in the mail informing you that a warrant had been issued for your arrest and you were to report to jail immediately? You might think someone is playing a practical joke on you, or that someone finally found out and you are finally getting what you deserve. Maybe we should be thankful that there is not always justice, instant karma, or fair play given in every situation we encounter. If so, most of us would get a speeding ticket every day we drive, and the prisons would be full of all us thieves and scoundrels, because we are all guilty. Instead, we encounter the self-righteous and sinners who just have not been caught yet, which even includes us in its numbers. How often are we thankful for being treated unfairly?
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Just like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, we have a tendency to try to manage our sins. Instead of seeing them for what they truly are, and confessing them, we try to downplay and minimize our faults, compare our misdeeds to those greater infractions of others, and just plain hide or even justify our sins and hope that no one ever finds them out. It is a constant struggle to try and make us look good in the eyes of others, and ourselves, when we know full well that we are not who we pretend to be. Maybe if we do some of the right things, go through the motions and show up at church and say the right words, no one will ever know what hides in our hearts. Maybe we can even fool God, if we try hard enough? Who are we really fooling?
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2
In scripture, we hear that David was a man after God’s own heart, but what does that really mean? Was it because he knew what God wanted in most every situation and followed Him perfectly or failed Him – David dreamed big, won big, and failed big? Was it because he fought battles, sang songs and danced with abandon and all that was within him?…maybe a little. When we read Psalm 51, we get a glimpse into David’s heart and realize he didn’t think as much of himself as others made him out to be. He was a sinner, plain and simple, and the only One who could restore and renew him, was God. He realized, as we often do, that he deserved nothing but judgement and condemnation from God, yet he finds mercy and forgiveness, when he returns time and again with a contrite heart. Maybe that is it?
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19
Regular Repentance is a key sign of a true Follower of Christ. Confession is a practice we seldom seek, but often need. We have a tendency to think that we should almost be perfect, but it is a target we are unable to hit. Because men have a tendency to go it alone when it comes to getting things done, we tend not to have close friends to whom we can confess and bear our souls to, though it is definitely a healthy thing to do. If you are married, ideally you would be willing to confess your sins with your spouse, though it is a difficult thing to do. Maybe before reading the whole laundry list, start with some small things first to show that you are imperfect. If you are not able to confess your sins to others, begin with sharing them with God, you know, since He already knows. Confession starts to bring about more forgiveness and freedom in your life to areas you didn’t even know you were in bondage. May you experience that freedom daily, in the forgiveness that Christ reveals and brings to us each time we confess and repent!
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:12-13
Yours in Christ,