Here is a short meditation as I have been thinking about 1 John 1 and reading the poem, Cleanse the Thoughts by Walter Bruegemann
Why do I try to hide
When I am already fully known by You?
My secrets ooze out of the pores of my life,
despite my best efforts to keep them hidden.
My shame keeps me
from the help that I so desperately need.
Your wooing voice cries out to me,
Allow yourself to be known.
Join in the celebration with the saints,
our blood-bought victory,
our bondage-breaking liberation,
our friendship-restoring redemption.
Allow yourself to be known
And to be loved
as a less-than-perfect
image-bearer of the King.”
Here is someone on the road to redemption and I hope he makes it!
If you are a basketball fan, you will remember Dennis Rodman–his defense, his rebounding, his flamboyance! I have not followed his life after basketball but I am guessing that it has been rough–likely much of it self-inflicted. Just watched his rambling acceptance speech into the basketball hall of fame (thanks to the heads up by Jon Acuff at Stuff Christians Like) and I value his honest and hard words about his failure to be a good son, a good husband and a good father–many of these words could be my own as well. How moving to hear him describe the men in his life! I pray that God may give Dennis grace to continue to live a transformed life even as I pray that for myself.
Great post on the comma of grace from Stuff Christians Like that fits well with this post. Luke 22:32, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” As Jonathan says about the Luke 22 , it is a “loud, wild picture of what grace really looks like.” Be sure to read his full post.
Grace is why we should be willing to read and pray Psalm 32!
How right life is when
- my sin
- my iniquity and
- my transgressions
- are forgiven
- covered up
- not counted against me
Acknowledgement of my desperate need for
Pain and suffering when hiding
- my physical body wastes away
- I groan all day long
- God’s hand is heavy on me
- my strength is dried up
Thankfulness for God
- offering prayers
- providing a hiding place
Prayer: Help me not to be stubborn or to stray
Promise—steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD
- Be glad in YHWH
- Rejoice righteous ones
- Shout for joy you upright ones
Confession is good for the soul—and everyone around us. Without the ability to face ourselves honestly and confess not only our sin and bad behaviors but also the shadow that drives them, we become dangerous to one another in the human community. We project our own darkness onto others rather than dealing with the darkness within ourselves and the weight of that is too much for any of us to bear. Lent is the season for coming out of the shadows and coming clean.
Barton says confession results from the inner dynamic of repentance. We know we need to change and desire to change. She gives three elements of confession.
The first element in the process of coming clean is simply seeing something that went wrong in a behavior or an action. It might be a vague sense of something that wasn’t quite right (for instance, a subtle resistance to doing something loving for another person or a subtle shading of the truth for personal advantage) or it could be something that was more clear-cut (such as an angry outburst or a blatant lie.)
Willingness to name the sin or negative behavior clearly for what it is and to name what was going on inside that caused that behavior.
This is not for the purpose of making excuses; rather it is to seek some understanding of the inner dynamics that caused the behavior so that we can deal with the temptation at it’s root cause next time we are faced with it.
In this element of the process, we need God to guide us because while we might see the behavior clearly, the inner wounds, character deficiencies, and sin patterns that drive such behaviors are often unknown to us and we need God to reveal them.
True confession requires us to name our sin out loud to ourselves, to God and to the person (s) we have hurt and to take steps to renounce it for Christ’s sake. A true confession will involve the willingness to making restitution if that is needed. Confession, when practiced fully, is personal (between me and God), it is interpersonal
(with the person I have hurt or offended), and it is corporate (in the context of worship in community.) It is the interplay between these three that keeps confession healthy and productive.
Confession leads to our ultimate freedom from sin, guilt, and the heavy burden of unresolved pain in our relationships.
Tiger Woods may be remembered as the best golfer of all time but after listening to his apology today, he may also be remembered as giving one of the best apologies of all time for a modern public figure.
Since we are leaving town today, I was home and happened to walk by as the Tiger was speaking. Missed the first few minutes but from what I heard and from the tears I saw on my wife’s face, Tiger hit it right on the head of the proverbial nail! What did I hear?
1. An acknowledgement of wrong–multiple times and in a variety of ways, Tiger confessed that he had failed, that he had done wrong. I didn’t hear him say that he had sinned but with his Buddhist confession, that is maybe not so surprising.
2. Admitted an understanding of the way he had hurt others by his wrongdoings–his wife, his kids, his mom, his fans, sponsors, Foundation etc. He realized that he had violated the trust given to him, that he had failed to show respect to others (including his fellow golfers and the game itself), that he had brought shame on others by his misdeeds.
3. Expressed a desire to change. Tiger said that he did not want to repeat his failings, that he was getting help to do so, that it would be a long road to recovery.
4. Possessed an appropriate level of emotion. No, he didn’t cry but from my standpoint this was not easy for him and there was a genuine level of contrition. Part of that, no doubt, was the public humiliation and damage done to his pride and reputation.
Read what a Christian suggested for a good Tiger confession. He wrote this before Tiger spoke publicly. Except for the part about trusting Christ and seeking the help of other Christians/Pastors/golfers, I think he could not have done better.
Of course, I am sad that Tiger believes that Buddhism offers him the power to transform his life. No disrespect intended but removing desire from my life has never worked for me or anyone else I know nor has self-discipline by itself. I do know that change is possible as Jesus Christ transforms my desires, longings, thoughts and ultimately my actions. But, according to the Bible, that battle between lusts of the flesh and the life of the Spirit is a continual one until we go to heaven. I do wish Tiger the best with the demons with which he is doing battle. But, I fear that apart from a daily desperate dependence on Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit he can never win the battles ahead. Transformation, not reformation is what is needed.
Thank you Tiger for leading the way with this courageous and I believe honest confession. I am one that is rooting for you.
Psalm 95 is the reading for this first week of Advent—advent—“the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration” of the birth of our LORD Jesus. A couple of things jump off the page at me this morning. Reading in New Living. First, the focus on community in verses 1-6: Let us sing, let us shout joyfully, let us come to him with thanksgiving, let us sing psalms of praise, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our God, he is our God, We are the people he watches over. I guess this should not surprise me since God entered into our world to make community possible, fellowship first with the Father, Son and Spirit and then with others who bow in worship before Him. And then there is the community of all of humanity—all of those created in his image. A confession—community is not something I do well but then again, it is also something without which I cannot live well! So how will I involve community in my advent? The fact that I am even thinking about advent is a surprise in itself since advent is almost completely neglected in the church traditions that I have grown up with as a Christian.
Although I also now see the character of the one towards whom and for whom I worship together in community, the second thing I noticed about this Psalm this morning was the latter part beginning at the end of verse 7. As I read, “If only you would listen to his voice today” my senses become alert to what follows in 7-10. “Hardened hearts, tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did, hearts turned away from me, refuse to do what I tell them.” Advent calls me to reflect on my heart condition—and I suppose I need to work out a way to do this also in community?
A few weeks ago I read Signature Sins by Michael Mangis (IVP 2008). He
talks about the seven deadly sins:, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, anger, envy, pride and defines sin as a “failure of our soul to be fully attuned to God’s soul.” 15 He says a signature sin is “my sin pattern . . . my sin profile.” 14 Signature sins are “places where sin has most taken root. . . Primary root of sin which lies at the core.” 61 He suggests the following:
“Be in prayerful reflection about your own signature sins. Take note of those sins that cause a twinge of recognition. Be especially mindful of where your heart may desire not to look.” 29
We need to name our signature sins. It is a knowing of our secret nemesis.
- Enter the process with reverence and prayer
- Accuracy and thoroughness should be our first priority
- Take great care
- Choosing a name requires a growing familiarity with the sin itself—shades of meaning are important
- Prayerfully submit to God’s naming of our sin.
Apparently some are making money off of these signature sins as you will see below since you can buy and demonstrate to all your own special sin!
From Henri Nouwen email. Maybe this is why loneliness is so hard?
We all have our secrets: thoughts, memories, feelings that we keep to ourselves. Often we think, “If people knew what I feel or think, they would not love me.” These carefully kept secrets can do us much harm. They can make us feel guilty or ashamed and may lead us to self-rejection, depression, and even suicidal thoughts and actions.
One of the most important things we can do with our secrets is to share them in a safe place, with people we trust. When we have a good way to bring our secrets into the light and can look at them with others, we will quickly discover that we are not alone with our secrets and that our trusting friends will love us more deeply and more intimately than before. Bringing our secrets into the light creates community and inner healing. As a result of sharing secrets, not only will others love us better but we will love ourselves more fully.