Email Devotion Pentecost 13
No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
Sometimes even I am stunned by my own stupidity. One would think that I would be used to it by now … but evidently, not. For the past 6-7 years, I have been cutting my own hair with a barbershop clipper I bought. I use the #4 attachment … always … except when I don’t … like yesterday (Sunday) morning at 4:45 AM. I got up, and remembered that I had forgotten to buzz my hair the night before. So I pulled out my clipper and did my usual work in shortening my hair, so as to be ready for church. I had removed the blade attachment to trim my sideburns, when I saw a small tuft of hair that I had missed above my left ear. Evidently, I was still somewhat asleep, for I did not re-attach the #4 attachment to the blades when I took a swipe or two at this small tuft of hair. As a much more significant clump of hair fell from the clipper, I realized my mistake … too late, obviously. And thus, I ended up with yet another bald spot on my head (one that is not quite as symmetrical as the one that has been gradually growing at the usual spot on a man’s skull).
Even though my initial reaction was a gasp of “What did I do?” I soon found myself laughing at my carelessness. The fact that I knew this patch would grow out in a week or two, made it an easier gaffe to swallow. Once I got back on track with my normal Sunday morning routine, I began devotions for the morning (evidently I should have started the morning with devotions, instead of hair trimming). And as I usually do, I started with the confession that is scheduled for morning worship that day. Using the text of the confession we would use later that morning, I voiced these words to myself from our church bulletin. “Just and gracious God, we come to you for healing and life. Our sins hurt others and diminish us; we confess them to you. Our lives bear the scars of sin; we bring these also to you.” If scars are a visible mark of an injury, then one could say that the harm done to my ego earlier that morning was the scar of my sin of carelessness with my clipper. And while God’s absolution was not quite as immediate as it occurs on Sunday mornings at church, it will come to me gradually, and heal my poor maligned hair.
Isn’t that how confession and forgiveness always works? Sometimes the act of confessing results in an immediate act of absolution – a hug, tears, words of grace returned to you … and sometimes it takes a bit of time for the absolution to fully take root. Some sins are pretty much cut and dried … and some have poisonous tendrils that cling to the lives of others, and that take a little longer to destroy. But however long or short the time of restoration is we are blessed to have this gift in our lives, as modeled by the God who has made us. So in your prayers this week, why not try a little confession, if it is not part of your usual routine. Consider sins that those you have hurt would be aware of, and those which are known only to you … and to God. Celebrate this great privilege of restoring broken relationships, and finding wholeness in places where there was only brokenness. And give thanks to God, who is the source of this restorative act in our lives.
The apostle Paul assures us: “When we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ, nailing the record of our sins to the cross.” Jesus says to you, “Your sins are forgiven.” Be at peace, and tell everyone how much God has done for you.