5This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-9)
God is willing and able to hear and answer our prayers and He wants us to talk to Him…about our sufferings and disappointment because He only allows them in our lives for our good…so that we might grow and be able carry not only more of our own burdens but the burdens of brothers and sisters…but we can’t come understand that if we don’t first believe fully in Him…take our burdens to Him…and leave them there in such a way we are able to forgive ourselves. So many times I have found that my suffering and disappointment was self-inflicted. I had done something with consequences that made life difficult to bear. I had chosen to allow what others thought and said affect how I feel and see the world…and I didn’t like what I saw. I chose to get in my own way and not allow God to work in my life.
I, like anyone else, do (and did not) like to feel guilty. Like an unwelcome guest, guilt shows up at the worst possible time and does not go away no matter how much you wish it would. The truth is, however, that we need guilt! It is the only proper response to any offense, whether a selfish thought or a premeditated murder. Even a nonbeliever wants a burglar to feel remorse for his theft. Why? Because he should! Guilt exposes the truth that we wish to avoid: we have all sinned. John puts it this way; “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (v8). But John does not leave us with this dismal picture of ourselves…instead he goes on to paint a glorious portrait of a forgiving God. This is our hope: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (v9). Guilt does more than just deliver the distressing news…it unlocks the door to forgiveness. Progress, change, reform, and most important of all, God’s forgiveness all start with confession.
Confession works against the worst part of human nature, the part that imagines itself to be better that it really is. What person has not felt, “I’m’ not perfect, but I’m’ not as bad as my next-door neighbor”? This mindset always stops short of confessing; it would rather ignore or ease feelings of guilt than admit them…but only open confession of our sins will completely cleanse us. Only when we admit what we are…sinners, unworthy of God’s grace, can we make a fresh start. Only then can we truly get out of the way and let God forgive us…so that we can forgive ourselves…so that we can forgive each other. Let go and let God. This keeps small things from becoming big things…and keeps life filled with hope and happiness rather than doubt and self-loathing.
CS Lewis said that “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.” As children of God…trying to do good…having the perfect Image to compare ourselves to…we are going to feel bad about ourselves and our circumstances. That is not the end God wants for us…He doesn’t just want us to feel Godly sorrow for nothing…but to feel Godly sorrow so that we will repent and experience His grace. We can never know how much we need freedom until we try to unload our burden of sin. God’s forgiveness will liberate us to begin anew on the path of righteousness…in each moment that we boldly approach His throne of grace during every day that He blesses us with.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Unload on your Father…leave it at His feet…and allow His grace to wash over you and His angels minister to you so that you might live cheerfully (in any circumstance) to serve and glorify Him.