Lent Devotional #6

Devotional #6

Scripture:  “9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

Devotional Thought:  So often we find ourselves repeating the same mistakes again and again.  Waking up in the morning and feeling horrible about ourselves and crying out our desire to do better.  And it does get better for a while.  Maybe an hour, or day or even week, but then we slip back into the same pattern and once again find ourselves waking up and feeling horrible and crying out to do better.  

What we need to do to break this pattern is to confess.  And rather than cry out to ourselves, we need to cry out to another person.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book Life Together says,

“we must ask ourselves whether we have not often been deceiving ourselves with our confession of sin to God, whether we have not rather been confessing our sins to ourselves and also granting ourselves absolution. And is not the reason perhaps for our countless relapses and the feebleness of our Christian obedience to be found precisely in the fact that we are living on self-forgiveness and not a real forgiveness? Self-forgiveness can never lead to a breach with sin; this can be accomplished only by the judging and pardoning Word of God itself.

Often our cries for help are not to God but to ourselves.  And the forgiveness we receive is not God’s but our own rationalization.  True forgiveness comes from God and God alone.  And the path that God has shown that leads to forgiveness is confession to one another.  The book of James directs us to do just that by saying:

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Prayer Focus:  Gracious Father, Son, and Holy Spirit lead me to a sister or brother who can hear my confession and stand with me.  Who will hear my cries of confession and help me to seek your healing?  For you alone are capable.