“Can you tell mom why you are being punished?” “I talked back and didn’t mind you.” (It amazed me how they always knew exactly what behavior had prompted the correction).“What do you have to say to mom?” “I’m sorry…” and then the tears would flow. It was interesting that as my little ones talked about what they had done they spoke in neutral tones, but when they actually said they were sorry they would cry. The act of apologizing moved their little hearts! It convinced me that not letting a child “get away with it” is not only good parenting because it reinforces the benefits of good behavior but also because it helps a child find their sorrow…the good kind of sorrow…the kind that God embedded in the human heart to help steer us away from the cliffs and toward His open arms of love.
It seems to me that part of being made in the image of God includes an interior sense of right from wrong. When we sin we can feel the sand-paper rub against our conscious and we will either hide from the discomfort of it or bring into the light of God’s love. Hiding and stacking our sins weighs down our soul and becomes a doorway to guilt and shame. Guilt and shame are great light-snuffers and work together to crush our spirit, and deceive us about ourselves and God.
Over time, ignoring of the holy prompts that are designed to lead us to grace, has a numbing effect on our conscious and before we know it, our hearts are hard and we are lost.
I wonder if confession has become a neglected practice these days. Have we abandoned the habit of inviting the Holy Spirit to prick our conscious with awareness of our sin and then, allow ourselves to feel a proper sorrow…a sorrow that leads to repentance? Do we dare trust the Love of God enough to know the truth about ourselves? Because it is in the safety of God’s love that we can know our sin and it is in the act of confession that our hearts soften and a holy transaction occurs…guilt for innocence, shame for dignity, and death for life and darkness for Heaven’s arms of love!
“Thank You, Father, that You’ve made a way for me to be set free…the once and for all freedom as well as the daily freedom from sin’s tangles. Thank You for making me in Your image and giving me a conscious that helps me know when I’ve sinned and feel a proper sorrow. Keep my heart open and sensitive to the Spirit’s corrections. Thank you most of all for Jesus and the gift of love that He gave on the cross. Amen.”
What about you?
Is confession a regular part of your spiritual life?
Is your heart numb to the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Are you open and receptive to Him bringing an awareness of sin in your life?
Do you feel a proper sorrow over sin?
Do you labor under shame and guilt? Talk with God. You can trust Him. There is safety in His love.