Thursday, April 17, 2014

Freedom from guilt, Part II

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

So, what do we do when we DO sin?
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
To confess my sins to God is to agree with a holy God that OUR standards don't matter -- they're not good enough. It means that we will admit that we've fallen below HIS standards.

Confessing means that we agree with God that we shouldn't have done whatever we did. It means we won't make excuses for our sin, nor will we try to blame someone else.
It means we won't compare ourselves to someone else's sinfulness, to make ourselves feel better by comparison. And we won't tell ourselves, that we aren't so could have been something worse that we did.
Lastly, confessing our sin to God means that we realize we can't fix this sin problem by ourselves.
Anyone need my package of bandaids? It's conveniently open, since I have been using some. (Grin)

You know what we humans do, though, don't you? We often try to hide our sins. Confess? Nah, just lift up the rug and shove 'em underneath. Yep.
We even try to hide them when we pray. Now that is silly. But have you ever been praying and had a sudden thought: this will be used against me on judgement day. Or, I don't want anyone to know about this, up in heaven.
Ummm . . . we can't conceal our guilt by simply not putting it into words, or by not mentioning all of the terrible details in our prayer. You see, it doesn't matter what we say to God about what we've done, or about what we've thought -- come on people, He knows about it already! He is all-knowing!

But in Proverbs we are told that God won't use our confessions against us. He loves us. He doesn't want to hurt us, nor does He plan on using our confessions to humiliate us.

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
God wants to give us His mercy… but the only way that mercy will be given is if we own up to our guilt. If we admit to our sin.

People often wonder aloud, how many times God will forgive us when we sin. Remember when Peter asked Jesus about that? His question to Jesus was how many times we humans should forgive someones else . . . the answer was seventy times seven, or 490 times! OK, if God expects us to do that in our lives, don't you think that He will have an even higher standard regarding our sins?
One of the reasons that people don't confess their sins to God, is a purely human one. They believe that once He finds out what they've done, He will be angry and not forgive them. Well, not to repeat myself, but there isn't anything that God doesn't see. There's nothing He can't hear. He already knows about our sins. He just wants us to agree with Him: they truly are sins; we can't fix them; we need for Him to forgive us and help us move on.
That is the freedom that we've been talking about. He can give us freedom from the fetters of sin and guilt and shame; He can set us free to live in Him.

I'm indebted to Max Lucado for this next story; it was included in one of his books:
A boy was shooting rocks with a slingshot. He could never hit his target, whether it was the fencepost, the mailbox, or whatever he aimed at. One day when he was in his Grandma’s backyard he spied her pet duck. On impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit, and the duck was dead.
The boy panicked and hid the bird in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister watching. After lunch that day, Grandma told Sally to help with the dishes. Sally responded, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you Johnny?” And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!”
So, Johnny did the dishes. What choice did he have? For the next several weeks he was at the sink often. Sometimes for his duty, sometimes for his sin. “Remember the duck,” Sally’d whisper when he objected.
After a while tho’ he grew so weary of the chore, he decided that any punishment would be better than washing more dishes, so he confessed to killing duck.
"I know, Johnny," his Grandma said, giving him a hug. "I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave out of you.”
We are so often just like this little boy. We are ashamed and afraid. We think the confessing of our sins will destroy us. In reality, the One who loves us is only waiting for us to admit our sins. Then we will receive that blessed freedom from our guilt and shame.

Don't let Satan keep you in slavery to your guilt. We can tell Jesus today about our sins. He already has seen them; just agree with Him that we need His mercy and His freedom. A weight will be lifted from us, and we will know true freedom and peace.


Catherine Shepherd said...

Yep, band aids needed. Nothing ever really changes, when it comes to people and sin, does it? Adam and Eve tried to hide from God. David tried to hide his sin with Bathsheba. God knew where they were and what they'd done. You'd think, with all the examples we have to go by, we'd learn that we can't hide from God, but nope, we still go on trying. I often wonder how He has so much patience for us sinful fallen creatures, and am so incredibly thankful that He does.

Catherine Shepherd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Belinda said...

Well, you hit me with the slingshot on that one. I don't know how many times I've thought about a sin, but not confessed it. Why? I guess if I don't acknowledge it, it didn't really happen? Sure. Pride? Maybe. Being held responsible? Ouch!

Pass that box of bandaids this way please...