Come out of hiding and confess your brokenness

My church studied 1 John in a sermon series called “Living Deep.” My pastor then gave us a list of practical steps to help us go deeper in our faith. I am slowly making my way through the list and am now on step six, “Come out of hiding and confess the reality of being broken.”

I am not a Catholic so I have never “been to confession.” I have no idea what it is like to confess my wrongs to a priest. When I became a Christian, I learned that “if we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I confess my sins to God directly because Jesus intercedes for me.

Come out of hiding. Many of us want to hide our sins because we feel guilty and are ashamed. But there is no point in trying to hide from God. He is all-seeing and all-knowing. In one of my favorite psalms (Psalm 139), David wrote that God knows everything I do. He knows my every thought. He knows what I’m going to say before I say it. God created my inmost being and knows everything about me. God is everywhere. It is impossible to hide or flee from his presence.

You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you (Psalm 69:5).

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil (Eccl. 12:14).

He who conceals his sins does not prosper but whoever confesses and renounces finds mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)

Sometimes we sin willfully and sometimes we don’t even know that we are sinning. For example, we may not be aware of our own pride. We often excuse the same selfish behavior in ourselves that offends us when we see it in others. God knows ever corner of our hearts. We can ask him to show us our hidden faults and to reveal the ways we offend him.

But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. (Psalm 19:12)

See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:24)

Be honest. Just as there is no point in trying to hide from God, there is no point in lying about our sins and our struggles. There is no point in pretending to be better than we really are with anyone, but especially with God. He sees right through the kind of hypocrisy that Jesus called out. We can be real with God because he can’t be shocked by what he already knows.

In Psalm 139, David admits that he hates those that hate God. He counts the enemies of God as his personal enemies. I don’t find permission to hate anyone in David’s confession; I find the freedom to be completely honest with God about my feelings about wicked people. I am ashamed of myself when I catch myself hating God’s enemy, a man who opposes and exalts himself above all that is good, a man who sows deception, hatred and division. My heart convicts me because Jesus holds me to a higher standard – love your enemies. Getting real with God, I can say, God please help me not to feel this way.

Confess your brokenness. Confession starts with recognizing our brokenness before God. Many people don’t confess their sins because they think, I am not as bad as other people. They don’t understand that we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Too often, the sin of pride gets in the way of admitting out failure to live up to God’s perfect ways. People avoid facing the reality that they are broken because it’s painful and messy.

Confessing our brokenness is good for the soul. Confession breaks the spirit so that it is open to being transformed by God. It puts us in the right posture before God – humble and contrite. God is pleased when we come to him with a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).

We Are All Broken. That’s How the Light Gets In.

It is only when we confess our sins and renounce them that we receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. It is only when we confess our sins and repent that God can give us a new heart and a new spirit.

Reading List

Psalm 139:16-24
Proverbs 28:13
Ezekiel 36:26-28
Matthew 11:28
Galatians 3:4-7
1 John 1:9,4:16-18

If We’re Honest

A Facebook friend posted a Lessons Learned in Life meme that says: “As we get older, we become more honest and don’t have the patience for pointless drama.” I am beginning to resemble that statement. When you are young, you can afford to be inefficient with your time. When more than half your life is gone, you don’t want to waste it on pointless drama or pretenses.

Before I decided to let go of pointless drama, I would tell myself to put up with people who are obnoxious or offensive. Be patient and maybe they’ll change. But now I feel free to let them go. Why waste time hoping they’ll change their stripes? As Maya Angelou said, when people show you who they are, believe them.

In the past, I often held back from expressing myself honestly and openly because I worried about what other people think of me. I tried too hard to please other people instead of being true to myself. A few months ago, I resolved to do my best to be authentic, even at the risk of failing to meet the expectations of other people.

I have disappointed people since I made the decision to be more authentic. To be honest, it makes me feel bad about myself. In being myself, I’m not the exact person other people want me to be. In being myself, I sometimes make choices that other people don’t agree with. But I will never regret being my authentic self. I’ve learned to accept my brokenness. There’s mercy waiting on the other side.

If We’re Honest (Francesca Battistelli)
Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide
I’m a mess and so are you
We’ve built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do
Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest
If we’re honest
Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay our secrets down at the cross, at the cross

via Daily Prompt: Inefficient

I Don’t Insist on Much

I don’t insist on much. I don’t insist on being right. People have a right to disagree with me. Even if I’m absolutely certain the other person is wrong, I’m not interested in engaging in a battle of wills. I don’t insist on having my way because it is not all about me. I’m easy to please and open to compromise. I am willing to give up some of what I want for the good of others. But I absolutely insist on certain things.

I insist on honesty and integrity. Most of us are guilty of telling little white lies. I can forgive people for the occasional lie. But truth matters. And when a person lies continually, it proves that they can’t be trusted. Integrity is an essential part of good character and it is the foundation for good relationships.

I insist on respectfulness. Respect is a two-way street; if you treat people with respect, they are more likely to respond in kind. Respect is treating people the way you want to be treated. I admit that I lose respect for people who behave badly and when a person loses my respect, they have to earn it back. But even if I don’t respect a person, I still believe in treating them with kindness and consideration.

I insist on genuineness. I have always been turned off by people who seem fake, who pretend to be something they are not. A genuine person is real and authentic. A genuine person doesn’t feel the need to impress people with what they have or who they are. You can trust that a genuine person speaks from the heart. Genuine people possess the humility that makes them more relatable and human.

I don’t insist on being first. I don’t insist on sitting at the best table or having my food prepared to order. I don’t insist on having the best things or having everything in perfect order. I do insist on preserving and upholding the values that really matter.

via Daily Prompt: Insist