Exhausted and soaked in sweat, I sank into the cool leather of my couch. I knew that if Danielle saw me, in all my post-workout glory, lounging on our living room furniture, I would bear her ire; but at this moment I was willing to endure my wife’s displeasure for a moment of reprieve for my aching muscles. “Why…?” I uttered, my anguished cry barely audible. Of course, I knew the answer to my own inquiry. The rejoinder is profoundly simple: I put my body through the pain of intense cardio-vascular activity for the hope of prolonged health, better sleep, and a minimized waste-line. What is rigorous to the joints is good for the health. We all, I would think, comprehend this reality when it comes to the physical, but the truth apply applies to our spiritual reality as well.
Last weekend I acknowledged, following a sermon concluding the Prayer of Jesus in Matthew 6, my own sin in refusing, at times throughout my life and ministry, to forgive those who I might see as having wronged me. I confessed how anger and malicious discourse followed. I called these behaviors and thought patterns what they are: sinful.
If you were wondering, for some crazy reason, if this pastor deserves a pedestal or a crown of self-deserved glory, you have been set straight. I am flawed and at times treacherous just as are you. And the reality of my trespass does not make it “alright.” But the grace of Biblical Christianity declares that my sin and yours (as well as our individualized righteousness) have been pardoned through the Lion’s death on (and under) the Stone Table. The Word further declares to my beleaguered soul that confession of my treason brings healing and renewed intimacy with the Divine. So, in some ways, just as the brutality of an acute workout brings pain in the moment but health in the end, so too does confession. What is hard on the pride and, at moments, overwhelming emotionally, brings to our souls peace, restored relationship, and health. I have experienced this beauty time and again throughout my pilgrimage (I am fairly villainous even in my redeemed state) and my hope for your soul is to realize the beauty of confession as well.