July 16, 2020

Confession

Some Christians love to talk about the sins of Obama or gays or the mainstream media, but get really animated when I suggest we need to talk about our own, even if they are listed in the Bible dozens of times.

If the Gospel isn’t grabbing you by the real sins in your real life, just exactly what is the Gospel doing for you? Or you with it?

I don’t like the fact that I can give a really good talk on prayer when I rarely pray.

I don’t like it that I can read Matthew 5:23-24 and, as far as I can recall, never take a single step toward obeying it.

I don’t like that I can sin and then condemn someone else’s sin in almost the same breath.

I don’t like it that I’m convinced people need to understand me, but I take so little time to understand others.

I regret that I’ve spent so much of my life seeking to make myself happy in ways that never led to real happiness at all.

I don’t like it that I’ve accumulated so much stuff I don’t need, and I’m so reluctant to give it away.

It causes me real sorrow that I’ve said “I love you” far too little in my life, especially to the people I love the most.

I don’t like the fact that some of my students think I’m a hero, when I’ve done nothing more than be an unprofitable servant.

I hate the difference between what I know and what I do.

I hate the fact that I can use words like “radical” describing what others should do in following Jesus when I’m the first one to want to play it safe.

I don’t like that part of me that thinks everyone should listen to what I say.

I wish I could see myself as God sees me, both in my sinfulness and in the Gospel of Jesus.

I regret using so little of my life’s time, energy and resources for worship and communion with God.

I despise that part of me that always finds fault, and uses that knowledge to put myself above others.

I am embarrassed by the words I use that come so easily from the tongue but have little root in the heart.

I regret taking so few risks in the cause of living a God-filled life.

I despise the shallowness of my repentance for sin that has caused hurt and pain for others.

I don’t like that part of me that can make up an excuse, even lie, almost endlessly in the cause of avoiding the truth and its consequences.

I don’t like that I can talk of heaven in a sermon or at a funeral, but very little of me wants to go there.

I regret that I have loved my arrogant self far than I’ve loved my self humbled in Christ.

I regret that so much good advice, good teaching and good example was wasted on me.

But I am glad for the endless mercies of the Lord, and the amazing fact that those mercies extend to me, today and every day.

I am glad that Christ my substitute took this sorry life, pathetic obedience and lethargic worship and exchanged it for his perfect righteousness.

I am glad that the Holy Spirit is remaking and raising dead men- even at age 52.

I am glad that one day I will look at all these failures and regrets and they will have been transformed into the very glory of Jesus Christ himself.

I am glad that God has cast the very things I most dislike about myself into the depths of the sea and has removed them as far as the east is from the west.

I am glad that when I return in shame and embarrassment, my Father meets me running, covers me with his gladness and throws me a party in the presence of the naysayers and pharisees.

I am glad that Jesus takes these things I loathe about myself and says “It is finished. Come you good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord. Today you will be with me in paradise.”

I am glad Jesus says “Before I have called you servant, but now I will call you friend.”

I am glad Jesus says “Who condemns you? There is now no condemnation because you are in me and I am in you. If I am for you, who can be against you? Go, and sin no more.”

Comments

  1. Thanks… I needed that, and it will be linked to on my blog in 3… 2… 1…

  2. Thank you…

  3. Ditto.

  4. Aussiejohn says

    Michael,

    What an encouragement it is to know that, in almost 50 years of ministry, I now find there really is another fellow as weak and dependent as I.
    I have often felt so alone amongst my perfect peers, who preach messages about perfect performance, which are designed to cause their listeners to admit how imperfect they are.

  5. Thanks. I needed this.

    Actually, I feel like I wrote it. Or somebody’s been reading my mail. But to hear the words of Jesus spoken thus, is a tremendous encouragement.

    Thanks be to Christ…

  6. Kyrie eleison.

    Thanks, MS, I needed that too.

  7. Christopher Lake says

    Michael,

    As others have written, thank you. Even at the age of 35, I already share with you almost every sorrow and regret listed in this post. Thank God that I also share with you all of the “glads!” Praise be to God alone!

    One more thing– you have *not* been an unprofitable servant. You know yourself much, much better than I know you, obviously, but I *still* know that you’re wrong on that one. 🙂

  8. Someone has said that forgiveness is remembering with Grace. I have done a lot of remembering of my sins and how they affect others and how they displease God. I am just trying to apply grace to those things and also claim God’s grace to help me in some way show real growth. I get discouraged at how slow change happens in me… Meanwhile others get hurt and God is saddened.

  9. Thanks, and ditto CL on the “unprofitable” thing.

  10. Luke 17:10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’ ”

  11. Christopher Lake says

    Michael,

    “Unworthy” is one thing. By definition, we are *all* unworthy of God’s grace. “Unprofitable” is something else. You are profitable for God’s Kingdom regularly on this blog and, I’m sure, elsewhere in your life. Not perfect, but profitable. 🙂

  12. I match and relate to every single point of your confession. Thank you for writing this.

  13. I think we all have our silent confessions which we’re afraid to utter, fearing that they would be met with rejection rather than absolution. That fear drives us to battle over predestination, law vs. gospel, the true historical church, cultural wars, etc. We know what we’re wrong about; we want to know that we are right about something – like a knight going to war to become valiant. We’re trying to win our own approval, no matter who must be hurt in the process. We end up the opposite of David in Psalm 32: we look impressive on the outside, but on the inside our bones have wasted away.

  14. Amen brother, we meet and greet one another together beneath the cross as fellow sinners for whom Christ died. And we can rejoice together as brothers forgiven and made new by his precious blood.
    He is merciful to us indeed.

  15. I hate it that it’s so easy to have the reputation of a godly woman when I put so little effort into the pursuit of God comapred to the pursuit of my own gratification.
    I hate it that it’s so easy to use my facility with words to hide behind.
    I am glad that the Holy Spirit punctures my pretences and brings me back to that place of helplessness, even if I do kick against it!
    Thank you Michael, for making us all stop and take a few minutes to turn back in repentance

  16. Yeah. All that.

  17. The passage that gets me every time is Luke 12 (the whole thing but verses 32-34 especially so). Other than that, it’s like looking into a mirror.

  18. Thanks, brother, for ministering to us through your witness.

  19. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Some Christians love to talk about the sins of Obama or gays or the mainstream media, but get really animated when I suggest we need to talk about our own, even if they are listed in the Bible dozens of times.

    Rule-of-thumb, IMonk:

    In practice, “SIN!” (the kind that sparks long and loud denunciations) is “Whatever YOU do that I don’t!”

    Just like “Paganism” is ALWAYS the other guy’s faith, never your own.

  20. Turned 50 this week and am going through much the same reflection. Sometimes you feel so alone in your sinfulness, and just want to give up. But than our wonderful God gives you a lifeline. Thanks for being the lifeguard today!I certainly agree with the others about the fruit you produce.
    Rick

  21. I hate how – as I read that – I realized I was reading about me.

    I love how – after perservering through the devastatingly convicting parts – it all became about God’s glorious grace in Jesus.

    Wow! Humbling (yet uplifting) stuff, sir. Thank you.

    May the Lord continue to bless you, and others through you.

  22. Can you really confess the second group of them? I can identify with the first group, but have a difficult time with the second.

  23. Miserere mei, Domini.

    Thanks for this, brother. I’m reminded of both my sin and the hope of salvation. Wow. This was needed.

  24. Hummmmmmmm…..Significantly written…The Matthew passage and its incredable meaning of waht God calls us to do-even imagining in the midst of leaders within the church–a Blessing of witness or a deliberate oversight of not acknowledging the scriptures for all they simply ask of us…Deuteronomy 1:16-18, and Jeremiah 9:23-24….Rahab

  25. Thank you.