If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:8-9
Friend to Friend
When my husband was a church pastor in South Florida, one of our favorite traditions was the Thanksgiving Day breakfast. Even our kids got in on the action. We woke while it was still dark and headed to the church to help dozens of volunteers prepare pancakes, bacon, eggs … the works. After breakfast, Dan shared a brief message and everyone headed home to enjoy the rest of their holiday.
Then the cleanup began. We all shifted into high gear, breaking down tables, washing dishes and getting the buildings ready for the weekend services. The kids quickly completed their assigned tasks and disappeared to play until it was time to head home.
I was finishing up in the kitchen when our daughter came running in, crying and holding a paper towel over her eye. “What happened, honey?” I asked. “I don’t know, Mom. We were playing and something flew in my eye. It really hurts!” she cried. I looked at our son who explained, “We were having a mulch war and Danna got some in her eye.” Since I wear contacts, I always carry saline solution and thought that would take care of the problem. I couldn’t see anything in Danna’s eye, but after washing it out, she said it felt better. As the day wore on, it was obvious that something was still in her eye as the pain increased and her eye began to swell. We called a friend who is an optometrist. He dropped by to take a look at Danna’s eye. After a quick exam he said, “She does have something in her eye, but I’ll need to see her in my office to remove it.” He applied numbing drops, an eye patch, and said he would meet us at his office in the morning. Even though I still couldn’t see anything in our daughter’s eye, I knew it was there.
When we arrived at the doctor’s office, he went to work and within seconds handed me a tiny speck of mulch nestled on a tissue. I could barely see it. But Danna blinked a couple of times and grinned. “It doesn’t hurt any more.” I remember wondering how something so small could cause so much pain.
Sin is like that. We may view it as nothing more than a little lie or an insignificant transgression, but it was enough to send Jesus to the cross. If we refuse to deal with sin, it will cause great pain and damage in our lives.
The word “sin” comes from an old archery term that means to “miss the bull’s-eye” or anything other than the dead center of the target. When sin is not confessed, it is a slow but steady drain that sucks the life out of us. Sin erects a wall between the Father and us. We have to get rid of that sin and eliminate the spiritual garbage in our lives if we really want to be free in Christ.
We are not perfect – just forgiven. To experience that forgiveness fully, we need to constantly eliminate the spiritual junk in our lives. I call it a spiritual detox.
One of my favorite spiritual disciplines to get rid of sin is to use what I call a Sin Sheet.
I take a blank sheet of paper – or two. I pray and ask God to help me remember any sin I need to confess.
I then write down every sin that comes to mind on that sheet of paper. And I do not mince words. If I have lied, I write, “I am a liar because I lied to Sally.” When no more sins come to mind, I confess each sin one-by-one. If that sin is between God and me, I then mark through it with a permanent marker. Done.
If I have sinned against someone, I must not only confess the sin to God, but I must also make it right with the person I have sinned against. Yep! I must go to them and ask their forgiveness.
I know. It is hard. But in order to be right with God, we must also be right with each other.
Repentance literally means to change your mind, turn your back, and walk away from sin. Because we are frail humans, chances are we will commit that sin again. Thank goodness for God’s mercy and grace, and for His unending love and forgiveness.
Confession is not for God to find out something He already knows. Confession is for us to be made whole and fit because we have dealt with the sin. It is for us to eliminate the junk in our lives. It is our spiritual detox and the starting place for a powerful life of freedom.
Father, I come to You today, asking Your forgiveness for the sins in my life. I choose today to turn away from those sins. I accept Your forgiveness and praise You for the love and mercy You so freely offer. Please help me eliminate these sins from my life.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Spend some time alone today with God in prayer. Complete a Sin Sheet and celebrate God’s forgiveness and love. Read 1 John 1:8-9 aloud and claim these promises from God in your life.
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