Monday, August 29, 2011

the blessing of confessing

Recently, the Holy Spirit led me to have a devotional with my kids on how to deal with sin.   So we talked about what happens to us when we sin(or think we've sinned).  We feel ashamed, afraid, guilty...  When we choose to stay in the the dark, rather than coming out into the light and confessing, Satan keeps his finger on us.  His power is strongest in  the darkness.  He tries to keep us hiding--with lies of course.  We hide in so many ways.  By making excuses.  By blaming others. By ignoring our sin. By keeping our sin a secret.  When we refuse to admit our sin, confessing it to God and each other, it hurts us.  We can experience no peace or rest in our hearts.  We live a life of guilt, shame and fear.  We lose our intimacy with God.  That sin creates distance in our relationship.  Not only do we lose intimacy with God, but we lose intimacy with others.  Unconfessed sin can even cause health problems.  If sin continues on unconfessed, it leads to isolation.  Because we're still trying to hide.  It's a downward spiral.  Does that sound like a life you'd like to live? 

But there is a remedy.  God has given us a gift.  It is the gift of forgiveness.   But we can only receive forgiveness if we are willing to confess.  We must come out of the darkness, into the light of truth.  We must call our sin by its name--sin.  We must refuse to compromise, or making excuses for our sin.  Just admit it.  God already knows.  It's amazing what happens when we confess our sins.  The process of healing and restoration begins.   Our hearts can again be filled with peace.   Our intimacy with God is restored.  Our intimacy with others can be restored.  We can live again in community.  Even our physical bodies can experience healing. 

God's forgiveness is total and complete.  He separates our sin as far as the east is from the west.  We are washed completely.  There is no need to continue punishing yourself.  There's no need to continue meditating over that mistake thinking of all the things you could have done differently.  Yes, there may be business that needs to be done.  The Holy Spirit may give you instructions to work toward reconciliation.  He may give you instructions to make restitution.  You will need some accountability in  place to help you in your area of weakness.  But understand, that you're already forgiven. Receive it.  Live like you're forgiven, because God says that you are.  I admit that I really struggle with this.  I have struggled with perfectionism my entire life, so when I fail, I can't let myself "off the hook".  Even after I've gone to God for forgiveness, I continue to punish myself chasing down that sin like a pit bull refusing to let it go.  I'm learning how to live in His grace more and more.

Paul said the more sin increased, the more His grace increases.  That scripture gets under the skin of us rule-keepers, because we think that we're giving people a "license to sin".  But even Paul talks about the foolishness of this line of thinking.  Why would anyone want to sin saying grace will cover it? Why would I want to live in guilt, fear, and shame when I can live free?  It was for freedom, that He set us free!

Lastly, I asked each of my kids if there was some person they trusted enough to confess their sins to.  It's important to have those person's in place before we sin, because it's hard enough to confess without having to add looking for a person we trust.  I now see the value in Catholics going to priests for confession.  What a blessing to have a fairly easy way to go and confess to someone you trust. But confession must go past admitting our sins.  We must also allow others to hold us accountable.  That requires an intimate relationship.

So after having our devotional and praying together, I had the opportunity to experience the blessing of confessing.  One of my children came to me asking if he could speak with me privately.  Of course.  So we went into my bedroom and he proceeded to confess a secret sin.  His heart was so broken over his sin and he felt that he had disappointed me. This may sound crazy, but it what such a joyous moment for me.  I was able to give him the gift of forgiveness and unconditional acceptance.  We sat together and embraced, as he cried.  I told him I loved him and that I totally forgave him.  He prayed and asked God for forgiveness.  Then I told him that he didn't need to think about that anymore.  It was done and over.  He was forgiven.  Now, there was business that needed to be done.  There were some things that I needed to do, so that he wasn't tempted to sin in that way again.  But it wasn't to punish him.  It was to help him.  And amazingly, he gladly received my help.  It actually seemed like a relief to him.  Later that day, I asked him how he felt.  He said he felt much better.

I pray that you may experience the blessing of confessing the next time you sin.

GAL 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

 1JN 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

 James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

2CH 7:13 "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain (hmm... sounds like a drought), or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, [14] if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. [15] Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. [16] I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

1 comment:

  1. An amazing interchange with you kids! It is so true and in a day and age when sin is accepted too lightly, we all need a refresher course on this one.
    Thank you, my friend.