Devotional Thought of the Day:
7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. 1 John 1:7-10 (NLT)
15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:15-16 (NLT)
25 He shows a great deal of enthusiasm and understanding. But when he realises that it refers to him, and that it is he who has to contribute in earnest, he slinks away like a coward. It reminds me of those who, during moments of grave danger, used to shout with false courage: War! War! But they did not want to give any money or to enrol to defend their country. (1)
In a number of conversations this week, people have had to deal with sin.
In one case, a young man tried to convince me that he is the first since Jesus to completely live without sin, to live the perfect life. In several others, this being Lent and all, we’ve talked about calling people to repentance.
Like the man in St. Josemaria’s quote, everything changes when it comes to dealing with our sin, with our personal challenges, with our….gulp…. sin.
Take on the sin of the world in your sermons pastor – just don’t hit me with mine. That’s right, go after the Fred Phelps, the homosexuals, those who are addicted to porn (well the hard stuff) those that fornicate outside of marriage – get them! Take on those politicians. Warn them all about hell!
My resentments? My lack of forgiving others,My inability to live at peace with those around me, my inability to love as I want to be loved? My anger issues, my self-defensive mechanisms? That just small stuff pastor, There are bigger sinners to fry.
We struggle with sin,OUR sin. We deal with it, much like we deal with death, or any issue where we find ourselves grieved….
We DENY it… we claim it isn’t sin, even though we know it is.
We BARGAIN – we want to make it seem less destructive. less of a sin than others sin…
We get DEPRESSED…. – we wonder if we would ever get past win the one that haunts us, the one we can’t overcome!
We get ANGRY… especially if someone questions us, or compares our sin to murder or adultery or gossip…
We ACCEPT it… we just give up – and continue letting sin dominate us, letting it rule over us, letting it wreck our lives, steal our peace, drive us nuts……..
Unless, in accepting it, we do what God tells us to do, to lay it at His feet. To let Him bring us healing, to allow those He has brought into our lives, to shepherd us through the dark times. We learn to accept our brokenness, not in despair, but because in doing so, in admitting it, confessing it, we can hear His voice, “Do not be afraid, do not be anxious…” When we, like the woman at the well, hear that God has sent us the Messiah, the Lord who will care for us, love us, cleanse us. When we hear like the man let down through the roof by his friends, and by the man at the pool, “your sins are forgiven.”
When like Peter along the lake, we realize what Jesus is asking, when we are more aware of our failures than His presence isn’t whether He knows whether we love Him, it is whether we know it….
Sin? Struggling with it isn’t in our job description. It’s above our pay grade… it is what Jesus did.
So don’t hide it, or minimize it, or despair over it, or get angry when you pastor meddles with it….
Let God deliver you from it, heal and restore you, and remind you that you are His Child, and He is your Loving Father.
Hear Him as He answers your cry, “Lord, have mercy!”
Come, confess your sins, and know He is faithful, they are forgiven, you are cleanse of all unrighteousness. AMEN!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 336-339). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.