It’s the most unnatural thing in the world. “It” is saying we’re sorry for something wrong we’ve done.
There are so many other “better” approaches to wrongdoing — to sin. Or so it seems to us.
There’s denial. “I didn’t do it.” Or, “I didn’t know that it was wrong.” Or, “I didn’t understand what I was doing.”
There’s cover-up. Pointing the finger. Comparing yourself to someone who’s done something “much worse.”
For many of us, confession is not good for the soul. Guilt and shame don’t even make sense. Why should we pummel ourselves? Won’t that just bring us down? Isn’t it just unnecessary negativity? Won’t it destroy my self-esteem and self-confidence?
The Bible contends for another path to understanding our worth. The real way to self-esteem and self-worth is via a healthy relationship with God. And how does a relationship with God become healthy?
One word. Forgiveness.
Are you ready to recognize your need for forgiveness? In the time of Joel the prophet, that was the appeal he made to the children of Israel. Return to God. Recognize that your loving God has only created his laws to bless and protect you. He wants to see you thrive.
Be broken over your sins. They are going to wreck you if you stay on your current path. So, instead, recognize your wrong-doing, and take your guilt and shame to God so that he can forgive you. Simply turn back to your compassionate God and to his ways.
“Rend your heart,” as Joel puts it.
He is kind and merciful. You don’t need to earn his love. He loves you even though you are sinful. And he will always be patient with you. No one wants your relationship to be restored more than he does.
After all, he gave his one and only Son to make that restoration and reconciliation possible. The cross equals certain forgiveness for hurting sinners.
“‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity'” (Joel 2:12-13, NIV).
Lord, I am sinful. I have wronged you and I have sinned against my neighbor too. I have transgressed your laws in my thoughts, my words, and my actions. Please forgive me. I want to return to you. I long for your grace and compassion. I know that true peace is found in your sure love for me, a sinner.
Our Bible reading for Sunday, November 1, is Joel 1:1 – 2:17, Hebrews 3:1-19 and Psalm 119:137-144.