If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 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.(1 John 1:8-9)
When was the last time you did something stupid? Now just so we are “on the same page,” Merriam Webster dictionary defines stupid as,
- “given to unintelligent decisions or acts.”
In other words: airheaded, bird-brained, bonehead, brain-dead, brainless, dim-witted, dorky, dumb.
For most of us, it would be more often than we like to admit. Of course most of the time we do something stupid, we look around quickly to make sure no one saw us.
But what about the things we do that are stupid spiritually?
- Do we treat them in the same way as we treat the other dumb things we do?
Do we try to hide them or deny them?
What about the unkind words, the angry actions, cursing using God’s name or failing to put him first in our lives? How do we view our interaction with our family, friends, neighbors or co-workers — do we ever do dumb things in those relationships?
As the saying goes, “When you mess up, fess up!” We all know we do whether we do it intentionally or inadvertently.
Confession is where change of the heart begins. That’s where we begin to recognize and acknowledge the “stupid spiritual things” we have done, and then commit, that with God’s help, we will stop ourselves before we do them again.
Now, what we have to confess may be petty, like cussing. Those are the little ‘sins’ that we don’t have to take to anyone except God.
And God uses that big eraser to wipe the slate clean.
But the Bible is full of stories of God forgiving people. Think of:
- Cain killing Abel
David and Bathsheba
Moses losing his temper and throwing the Ten Commandments.
These were BIG sins – someone was hurt by what another person did. But God still forgave these sins.
Think of Jesus asking God
Forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)
And when we confess either to God or the person we have hurt, we gain that forgiveness that God gave to those who crucified Jesus.
But what about those little sins that we commit without knowing it – being inconsiderate or selfish, hurting someone else’s feeling, not loving others as yourself? If we don’t realize we sinned, it is really hard to confess.
Does God hold those against us and punish us?
When Jesus died on the cross for us, he died for forgiveness of ALL our sins – those we confess and those we don’t know we committed.
And God takes that big eraser and wipes the slate clean.
Now that doesn’t mean we can keep committing the same sins. We need to try and not do those things we know are wrong. But I do know that we all will probably continue to do other dumb things in our lives and relationships. I also know if we confess my sins, God will forgive them. Then we can confess them to those I hurt or offended and begin to repair the relationships!
So let’s make sure we confess our sins, large of small, so that God can wipe them away with that big eraser.
Let us pray:
Dear God, how can I ever thank you enough for all you have done for me in giving your Son Jesus to pay the penalty for all my sins. In confessing my sins to you, I thank you for your gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Please help me to be as forgiving to others as you have been and are to me. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH, 3 June 2012