Wednesday, August 20, 2014

When confession frees the soul, the body sings

If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
1 John 1:9-10

confess - to admit you did something wrong or illegal; to talk about or admit something that makes you embarrassed, ashamed, etc.; to tell your sins to God or to a priest

homologeo - to confess, acknowledge, agree, admit, declare

hamartia - a sin, failure, missing the mark

katharizo - to cleanse; make clean; removing all admixture (intermingling of filth)

adikia - injustice; the opposite of justice; unrighteousness, as a violation of God's standards (justice) which brings divine disapproval; a violation of God's justice, i.e. what is contrary to his righteous judgments (what He approves).

It's so hard these days to come clean about something we've done wrong.  I struggled for years with secret sins that just weighed on my mind and heart, causing me to obsess and ruminate over and over again by justifying the things I'd done, the secrets I kept, trying to find peace from the turmoil and torture secret keeping left me suffering under.

It's really hard to come clean in 2014.  Not that it was any easier in the first century or 1453 or 1876, but it seems like today it's even harder to come clean and say, "I have sinned.  I have missed the mark."

Every "sin" has an out these days it seems.  They've got their own labels, their own party line, their own support network so that instead of saying, "I've missed the mark," it's ok to say, "I missed the mark but it's only because I have this disease or that disorder or that prognosis."   It's allowed more and more each day to discredit or justify  an actual conscious behavior since it is "caused" by something that has been found in a medical book or by an association.

Don't get me wrong.  I know we have stuff that's wacky about us.  I've said it here before, I have A.D.D. and that little brain "disorder" can and has helped me to miss the mark on more than one occasion.  I'm not making light of mental disorders or physical sufferings.  I'm NOT.  They are very real and very difficult and I have deep, deep compassion for you if you are suffering right now with any mental un-health.  Please hear me out.

It may be just me, but I've observed that there seem to be only a half a handful of ways offered to deal with this condition called sin or missing the mark..  Religion offers up two ways:  1.  go in a box, tell a priest, get your absolution and your orders for hail Mary's and be on your way.  2.  Have a group confession of sin, receive absolution from the minister and come back next week.  3.  Pretend we are all good people making bad choices.

I want to offer you a fourth technique.  And before I share this, I want to put this disclaimer up first:

This does not minimize the basic need to know and understand  that all mankind is sinful.  That all mankind cannot live a perfect life.  This goes deeper than the most important fact that Jesus cleansed us all from all sin, those we know, those we don't know, those we will commit, those we have committed.  The gospel message is clear, we have been pardoned for all sin, for all time because of what Jesus did on the cross.  So, with that understanding I don't think it is necessary to make that wonderful truth my point.  I hope to build on that wonderful Truth in a practical and applicable way that I don't think is talked about very often.  I get that, and I know you do too.  But getting that general view of the gospel does not always help us rise above the more specific and personal ways God wants to bring His gospel into our hearts to free us from "those" sins.  Those sins that we know, those sins that we feel guilty over, those sins that shame us.  Those sins that we can name and label.

Those sins.

That being said, from here on out, consider my two cents worth on this.

Agree (confess) with God that you are not just a "sinner"  or have a disorder or a disease and use that as your excuse for your behavior, but when you feel the guilt of what you did do or didn't do or should have done but tried to avoid or whatever is the case, agree with God, confess it right there on the spot.

And then, let it go.  If you need to make things right with someone, ask God to show you how.  If there is nothing to be done than move on.  But walk away from the guilt and shame of unconfessed sin after you've agreed with God about it.  Walk away from it.  See that "confession" as placing your missed mark in a suitcase or a bag or a box and taking it and laying it at the foot of the cross where it's meant to be and meant to stay.

See, if we confess, if we agree that we miss the mark in a whole host of ways, not just in the "big" sins like murder or lying or cheating or sexual sins or our general sinful condition (and isn't it funny how even all of those have excuses for now), we begin to taste freedom.

You are not meant to live under the power of your past, present and future sins.  You are meant to live victorious in spite of your past, present and future sins.

But what we do, what comes natural to us is to justify our missing the mark.  We like to blame it on our condition, our disorder, our childhood, our boss, our spouse, our job, our church, our dog, our teacher, our president.  What is unnatural for us is to blame it on the one who actually put the shoe leather to the action:  Me, you, us!

When we have guilt for past sins that dog us it often plays out like this.  See if you can relate.  I am reminded of a past sin and then wonder if I'm really forgiven for it, but my child comes in the room when I'm feeling guilt for that sin and he or she may be crying or just simply asking if they can have a drink of water, yet I snap at them for no real reason, except that I'm dealing with this guilt that won't leave me alone and I take it out on the first person or thing that is near me when it hits.  Then that child, because its feelings are hurt, goes and hits her baby brother because mommy (or daddy) snapped at them and they feel bad and then the baby starts crying and you have to deal with two crying children at the same time your spouse walks in the door and sees crying and yelling and decides he should just turn around and go back to work.  Then you get mad at your spouse for leaving you with two crying children when all the while if you had realized......

that if you confessed your sin the moment it struck you and agreed with God that yes, what I did was wrong and I'm trusting that you have taken care of my guilt and then went on to believe he is faithful and just to forgive you for missing the mark and trust that he is purifying you from all unrighteousness and cleansing you from the intermingling of filth that lies hidden in our hearts, what a completely different household you would have in just a few short seconds.

But, when we have to set up a time to confess to a person either publicly or privately, individually or as a group, a lot of crap can still happen, a lot more hurt feelings, a lot more fighting, a lot more crying will develop between the time we recognized our guilt and the time we can "confess" IT as an individual missing of the mark or a group collection of missings of the mark.

Confess on the spot.  Agree with God on the spot.

If you are feeling guilty, that's a good thing sometimes.  That's the Holy Spirit telling you to confess so you can move on.  Don't wait for an appointment, do it on the spot!  Don't waste your time trying to justify why you did it - "I'm this, I'm that, I have this disorder, I have that diagnosis, this happened to me as a child."  Ok, so you do.  But that doesn't do you one bit of good when you don't agree with God that you still behaved crappy but please, God, lavish the blessings of your purification and righteousness on me one more time anyway.  We make him out to be cheap and his grace, his beautiful grace is tainted when we do that.  When we make excuses for missing the mark his grace is worthless.  When we acknowledge we've missed the mark, not resting on our excuse for it, but really confessing that my condition or disorder or my past does not give me license to continue to miss the mark then the purification really can start.

Don't settle for your diagnosis allowing you to have rude behavior.  You're better than that.  Jesus in you makes you better than that.  Don't let your diagnosis keep you from seeking the first treatment and maybe the last treatment or medication you ever need.

Confession may be the only treatment you need.  You don't have to get a prescription for confession.  You don't have to worry about medicinal cocktails in your system wreaking havoc on your emotions and your mental status.


King David knew what it felt like physically to not confess.  He said that when he kept silent his bones wasted away through his groaning all day long.  He said God's  hand was heavy on him, taking away his strength like a hot summer day.  He knew what it was like to have his sin always at the front of his mind like a video playing constantly of his sin.  He felt crushed by the weight of unconfessed sin but when he confessed, when he agreed with God that he had done wrong, the weight lifted, he felt the washing of a clean soul right with God.  He wanted the things God wanted for Him, He wanted the pure heart and the steadfast mind.  It wasn't just a general condition he confessed, it was specific.  He knew what he had done wrong and he walked through the prison doors of unconfession a free man when he confessed specific sins to God.

Confess.  It's good for the soul.

God does not want you burdened by your past, present and future sins.  He does not want you in guilt or pain or shame one second longer than is necessary to place your eyes back on his forgiveness and love and mercy and away from the oppressive heat of unconfessed sin.

You are not going to surprise him by anything you confess.  He already knows it about you.  Confession is for you, not for him.  Confession, agreeing with God on how and when and why you've missed the mark countless times is the door you need to go through to receive the blessings that he won for you on the cross.

Don't wait till Sunday or when the confessional booth hours are open.  Confess now.  Be free now!
The only person hurt by you avoiding the reality of God's truth about your sin is you.  (And maybe your kids or your dog or your spouse or your co-workers or the lady behind the cash register at Walmart or Target.)

You are the one who has the problem.  Confession is the solution.

It's pretty cool to have access to instant cleansing when you instantly confess you've done wrong, thought wrong, spoken wrong.

Pack this crap up and leave it at the cross and start living the life He won for you.



2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 32; Psalm 51; Romans 6:11-23; 2 Timothy 2:22; Titus 2:11-14;
Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 Peter 4:1-2; 2 Peter 1:3-10; Jude 24-25

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