"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22 (NKJV)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Week 6: Confess Your Sins, Part 2

I met with my pastor, Ben, on Wednesday. We had lunch together, chatted about our families and our church's recent conference, and then we turned our attention to confession. I slowly read him my list of sins, offering brief explanations when necessary. As I read the list, he listened quietly and only had a few follow-up questions. It didn't feel like an interrogation. He didn't force anything. My feeling was that he wanted to make sure I expressed everything the Spirit had put on my conscience.

When I finished reading the list, Ben looked me in the eyes and said something simple like, "Good job. You're forgiven." He also asked whether I felt God was calling me to do anything else about the sins that I had confessed. I mentioned some practical steps that I felt led to take. Ben was like-minded and confirmed that what I was feeling was probably from God. He then put his hand on my shoulder and prayed for me. It was a gentle prayer of forgiveness and mercy, a request that God would grant me freedom from guilt and strength to overcome sin. When we were done, we put my list of sins through the paper shredder.

It was not a highly emotional experience, but it was a significant one. The act of speaking out loud to another the truth about my past sins was humbling. Have you ever noticed that you feel the Father's grace most acutely in moments when your heart has been humbled? Humility is like a channel through which God's grace flows to us.

With Ben's kind words of forgiveness and his prayer for mercy, God's grace and forgiveness felt even more real and present than during my private repentance. Just as God's grace is experienced most fully when we are humbled, the blessing of Christian fellowship is experienced most fully when we are transparent. I pray that God would establish humility and transparency in my heart and character.

He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. ~ Proverbs 3:34

1 comment:

  1. Very profound! Yes, I absolutely agree that humility is the key! Whenever we have a revelation of God's holiness, His character, we are faced with the knowledge of our moral bankruptcy. When we can acknowledge that there is nothing good in us, that we deserve only death, then we are candidates for His all-consuming grace to lift us up. I believe that is the essence of the Beatitudes. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to happen all at once at our initial salvation. Our ongoing sanctification is a process whereby we continue to see the totality of our fallen nature and continue to lean more fully into His arms of love. What an awesome revelation!