It’s a good thing that I have 46 days to get into the rhythm of confession of my sins. This spiritual discipline is one of the most difficult for me. I rarely focus on confession. It’s not that I don’t have a lot of sin to confess. It is that I would rather not focus on my sins.
The Lenten Season is a gift to me. I have been reading several Lenten devotional books and they each have different Scriptures and written prayers to guide me to true confession. I need a tutor like that. One of the best I have found is the Puritan Prayer Book—The Valley of Vision. Now those people know what confession is all about! I’ve got a lot to learn.
One of the best invitations to the purpose and meaning of confession was taught to me by walking a path during a recent Lenten Silent Retreat. I went down to the creek, and I saw a broken beer bottle lying there. I instantly picked up the pieces I found because I wanted to encourage the other women to walk down to the creek, and I didn’t want them to get hurt from the broken glass. I wasn’t finished with my walk and there wasn’t a trash can nearby, so I carried the broken pieces with me as I finished my walk.
I had to be careful during my walk not to cling to the broken glass in my hand. I was carrying around something that could easily harm me if I wasn’t careful. The broken beer bottle became a metaphor of my sin and why God invites me to carry it to the trash can during Lent. My sin is just like those broken pieces—brown and ugly, sharp and hurtful, potentially causing harm to myself and others. My eyes were opened to the beauty of confession. Sin is hazardous to my soul. Romans 2:4 is so true:
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
Good question. What do I miss out on when I show contempt for the riches of God’s kindness towards me? I miss out on realizing God’s kindness, forbearance and patience. I miss out on embracing a deeper degree of God’s love for me than I ever realized. Once I let my soul follow God’s invitation to confess my sins, it is no longer about me. It becomes about Him. It is about what an amazing God He is that He would love a wretch like me. There is no other way to move deeper into the love of God than through the spiritual discipline of confession.
Confession is good for the soul in more ways than can be expressed. Here’s the daily confession I am enjoying this year.
Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep, we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, we have offended against your holy laws, we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. But you, O Lord, have mercy upon us. Spare those who confess their faults, restore those who are penitent, according to your promises declared unto humankind in Christ Jesus our Lord; and grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous and sober life, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen
May you be blessed by the kindness, forbearance and patience of God this Lenten season!