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.
Aaron, thank you for your transparency and openness. After many years of not having anything to do with church, our son let us know that he attended your church online yesterday. He is going thru a divorce, and is beginning his journey back to his Heavenly Father. His mother and I have been praying that this would happen for some time. So, after listening to your sermon Sunday, the 19th, I researched your website and was blessed to read who you are as a church, and what you believe. He said he was going to stay connected for “awhile”…I told him to try longer than that, I do believe you have the message for him. He is very astute, well-spoken and was raised in a Christian home with Christian grandparents helping to guide him. Keep up the good work and preaching the marvelous message of grace and mercy. We will keep watching also. Christopher Jon (CJ) lives there in Clearwater and works in Tampa. His mother and I live in Indiana (2 hrs south of Indianapolois and 1 hr south of Bloomington, home if IU. God’s Blessings