Today begins a new focus for the upcoming Tuesdays. Let’s call it memory verse day. If you attend the Downtown Community of First UMC in Lexington you will notice a memory verse in the Sunday bulletin. This is our way of encouraging us as a community to plant God’s word deeply so that 1) it might be readily available in times of need and 2) we might meditate on it day and night.
The verse for the week of July 24 is…
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9 NRSV
Confession is not only a Roman Catholic thing. It is a discipline for each of us. Acknowledging shortcomings and identifying wrongs, in my opinion, is one of the most important practices of the Christian faith. For in it we remain humble before God and cleansed on a daily basis. You wouldn’t take a shower once per week (or heaven help us once per decade). Confession has the same cleansing power except it is for our soul and relationships.
I have found that when practicing confession it is best to not beat yourself up. God not only wants to forgive, but God knows it is the beginning of the healing process. Why would God be angry if one of his precious children desires healing? Remember Psalm 107 from yesterday’s blogpost? Our cries from the desert wasteland are not met with a wagging finger of condemnation but open arms of forgiveness and healing. The time for feeling guilt is over as we have taken the best and right step to begin the process of healing. Refusing to confess is the place we want to avoid being for any length of time for it is the place where things get worse in our life. Confession is the front door of things getting better.
I use Psalm 139:23-24 as my confessional prayer. I have written about this prayer of examination previously. I won’t go into again except to say it is the foundation of my confessional time and that it may help you too.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)