Our reading for Tuesday, May 28, 2019 is Psalm 32:1-11.
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” — and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah 6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! NIV
Freedom only comes when we are honest with ourselves and God. There may be some things that are best unexposed to others, but not to God. God knows the truth about us as it is. God knows our thoughts, our choices and behavior and the disposition of our heart. Knowing what we know of ourselves God yet loves us. That is why it is best that we be honest with God. We can dare risk being vulnerable with God for while we might displease God we can never exhaust God’s love.
It is the best policy for us to be honest with others though we might choose to keep silent some matters that would cause more and unnecessary harm to them. Otherwise it is wise that we own up to others the wrongs we have committed or blessings we have withheld. Depending on the relationship certain disclosures may be used against us and subvert our progress. How do we know then when it is right to own up to others? The Holy Spirit will reveal this and may well speak through a trusted friend and confidant who can expose conflicted motives born from a desire to protect one’s image or avoid responsibility.
The psalmist declared that the Lord does not count against someone their sin so long as there is no deceit within them. This is a problem for often we deceive ourselves into believing we are without sin when we are guilty. John writes in his first letter “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1Jn 1.8) However, he promises that should we be honest with ourselves and God by offering sincere and honest confession God will be faithful and just in forgiving our sins. In addition God will purify us from ALL unrighteousness. Honesty brings a fresh start, a “do over” at least in God’s eyes and in our own. If we are insincere any effort of reclamation will fail.
The secrets we hold within can be harmful to us internally and emotionally. They can always resurface at a later time and cause even more harm than if they were faced immediately. The way to prevent the cancer of secretiveness is to be honest with ourselves, with God and selectively with persons who can be trusted. Receiving absolution from a tangible person can do wonders to help us process our guilt and move forward.
Honesty to God requires confession and repentance. Confession might free us from immediate guilt and fear, however without repentance, the evidence of real change; we will never shake off the shame that sticks to us. The evidence of repentance will also convince others we have harmed of our sincerity and promote the courage to extend forgiveness and restored trust in us.
It is amazing to realize there are those who feel no remorse. They trudge ahead in life not losing a wink of sleep. It is stressful to think that we may not realize at any given moment in time the damage our attitudes, opinions, and choices have caused others. This is the reason it is essential we study, pray and reflect daily upon our interactions and choices so we might own them, confess them, repent from them and attempt to make amends for them where necessary.
Some people may be too hard on themselves while others dismissive. Both can be sin for they can obstruct us from growing spiritually and morally. The only way we can live a balanced life is to actively stay close to God, cultivate helpful relationships and a sensitive heart toward sin. This spiritual and moral sensitivity is reflected especially in two Wesleyan hymns , “I want a principle within of watchful godly fear, a sensibility to sin, a pain to feel it near.” (#410) and “O For a Heart to Praise my God, a heart from sin set free, a heart that always feels thy blood so freely shed for me.” (#417)
May we cultivate a heart sensitive to the influence of sin and may w be quick to get right and stay right with God, our neighbor, and with ourselves. May our true selves always seek to honor Christ.