Monday, October 8, 2018
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. – John 1:8-10
Though I have heard preacher after preacher declare that we are already forgiven of our sins, John’s Gospel is vividly clear of the need for confession. The forgiveness is primed and readied in the heart of the Lord, waiting for our acceptance of this forgiveness by way of our confession … but still the confession must be made. And within that act of confession is also a commitment to repentance, to change the course of our attitudes and behaviors.
Yet … we live in a culture and many in a certain Christian sub-culture where confession is seldom practiced. Oh, we think of a criminal’s confession of murder or theft, but of the subtler sins, we have grown silent and indifferent. It is as if we have become insensitive to the sins to which we grown accustomed.
What are these subtler sins of which I speak? Greed would be one, along with it a reluctance to share with others God’s Providence. Pride would be another, along with it an arrogance that I am better than others. Idolatry would be one, in the guise of a flag or a political ideology. Hatred would be another, in all its shades from prejudice to cold-hearted indifference. Hypocrisy would also be another, whether in the lack of transparency or in the self-rationalized lie. Oh, there are so many … that are so much a part of our way of life that we far too often we have grown blind to their presence and significance.
And if we fail to confess … over time we convince that we have nothing to confess. And this leads us down a path of blaming and judging others while forever excusing ourselves. In such a state, forgiveness might we be waiting in the heart of God, but is inactive in our souls and our human relationships.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz