Friday, May 02, 2008

Confession, Forgiveness, and Freedom

it's been a week of lots of conversations with lots of hurting people. I am actually sitting here stewing over a pile of written confessions done by a group of teenagers this week. It has put me somewhat into a funk. But I know that God is in the process of freeing them from these things, so there is a bright side. Why do we carry hurt? Why don't we share it with others? My sense of it would be pride/ego. Maybe possible humiliation. But the truth is I can't quite figure it out. We all go thru very similar things. We all stumble and fall in similar ways. Why can't we figure out what James is talking about in chapter 5 of his letter when he says, "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; and the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 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." (5:15-16) James deals with our own shortcomings as a sickness that needs healing; telling us that we will find the healing in confession and prayer. And yet, we continue to struggle and stumble, seemingly alone.

As I went thru the stack of confessions, I came to a simple drawing. It was a heart/sun! It was a heart with a smiley face and "sun rays" coming out of it. Then I remembered that my daughter, Cayla, had sat in on part of what we were doing, and that was her offering. It brought a smile to my face as I was deeply touched by her simple confession that Jesus, The Son, is love and warmth. She told me that was what she wanted to tell God, and I had completely forgotten about it until I found it in the stack. Now, I don't want to make light of sin, or say it's no big deal, but I think sometimes I beat myself up with guilt about my sin and forget that if The Son has set you free, you are free indeed. And confession brings freedom. And Christ is life, love, and freedom. In the midst of all of the yuck in this stack of human depravity is a reminder that, in spite of it all, God deeply loves us and seeks to forgive and restore. So why don't I confess more to Him? The Psalmist reminds me, "For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning." (30:5)

Confession is good for the soul is not just a glib cliché, but a soul-healing truth. Make confession a regular part of your day/life/moment. The Journey is best made with each other walking in the freedom of Christ's restorative forgiveness. Don't walk alone, Don't walk in guilt. Walk in the light, as He is in the light. He is the light.

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