When we talk about sin, we often operate with the presumption of commission of sin. In other words, we did something. There is also the sin of omission. In other words, what we didn’t do.
The morning confession in the Book of Common Prayer reads
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
In many respects, this confession is hard, because in it we confess that we are not loving God and others as God has called us to do. On the other hand, this confession is freeing, as we aren’t required to go down all the items we messed up on (and some days that can be quite a lot).
When we read Leviticus, we can often get bogged down in all the rules. Yet, if you read the rules in today’s verses, there is grace in them. In them, while the rules regarding are stringent, at the same time there is the recognition that someone may not recognize the act while in the middle of committing it.
We all make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are sins. Sometimes they aren’t sins, per se, but still hurt others. We aren’t supposed to beat ourselves up about it. We are supposed to confess, repent, and move on.
Even in Leviticus, barring a few acts, there isn’t a “no repeat” rule. This means that God will gracefully accept our confession and repentance. While we will often continue to sin (sometimes even the same thing), if we are truly repentant in our hearts and confess, God moves on, and so should we.
Yes, we are called to be better than we were yesterday. Being better than we were yesterday also means better to ourselves than we were yesterday. People will often continually condemn themselves about their failures. When we condemn ourselves, we are often closer to the enemy than God.
Through the Holy Spirit, God convicts. The purpose of that conviction is to free us from the guilt and reconcile us to God. The enemy condemns. That condemnation will often tear our hearts and souls into pieces, leading us to further separate ourselves from God.
This is not God’s intent. Yes, we are to be aware of what separates us from God. We are to confess and work on what separates us from God. It’s hard enough to improve our walk with God, let us not help the enemy take us further away from the reconciling heart of God.
Lord, help us be true to you through our confessions and our reconciliation to you. Amen.
1) Is there a sin or struggle in your life that you can’t seem to get a handle on, and are concerned that God just won’t let it go? Is it God, or is it you that won’t let it go?
2) Why do we often let our mistakes and errors bind us?
3) One aspect of the Good News of the Gospel is freedom from chains. How will you share with others the chains you have been freed from?