I was listening to the Derek Webb CD "The House Show" last week driving the group (I highly recommend both by the way...groups, and the CD) and heard once again his introduction to, and the song entitled 'I Repent' and then a sermon from Center Pointe Christian Church about wearing masks, putting on a happy face, or otherwise treating Christian living as nothing more than doing a better job of hiding our sin instead of addressing it, confessing it, and pursuing maturity and growth in faith.
I may feel alone, but I know I am not alone...in struggling with sin. Paul sometimes feels like a close friend I never met when he says in Romans 7:24 "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?"
I can just sigh in agreement, exhale in the frustration of such realizations and swallow hard and take a deep breath as I repent the following:
an idol worshipper
a waster of God's gifts
not a good parent
too quick to speak
not quick enough to listen
and so many more things that I can not begin to remember, or am not even conscious of what I have done.
God does not judge on a curve. It does not matter what other people do. It is not about keeping seven of the ten commandments. (in many instances you can make a credible argument that in breaking one...you break them all) One line from the song especially strikes me "I repent judging by a law that even I can't keep." I am wrong, and of all these things, I repent.
I do not hide....nor bring these sins up in any sense of pride or desire to draw attention to me, but rather point out...Christ already knows all these things about me. Hiding them or pretending they do not exist accomplishes nothing to glorify Him! I do not want to be like some kind of wizard of Oz...."pay no attention to the sin there, I am fine....I am good, everything is ok!" I had a boss that taught me a lot....a Godly man. One thing though that I struggled with was his greeting to everyone every morning when they asked how he was. With the upmost confidence he would snap back a crisp "Excellent!" I asked him why he always answered that way...when I knew sometimes that answer was not quite applicable. He told me something to the effect "because as the boss I need to be positive so that those around me would be positive, be happy, and be encouraged to keep going."
That makes sense from a business perspective, even from a kind trying to help people perspective. But I find that when we are really honest with people, and that means being brutally honest about ourselves (by brutal I mean brutal in that it hurts us just sharing), we have even more opportunity to help others. Trying to say we do not suffer, we do not sin (like that bumper sticker....Christians are not perfect, they just sin less) or whatever other whitewash we try to paint over reality only shows others outside of the Church that we are liars.
Paul did not just lament in Romans 7:24 about how down in the dumps he was over his natural state and leave it at that. Who will save me?...25"Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Now read chapter 8....really read it! This wretchedness that is in me...that is me, so beyond my comprehension in its scope, so beyond me to rectify....the thanks and glory be to God through Christ and His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave....He rescued me!
I repent necessarily to try to move past....to not hide but move out in the open, take the shots, and keep running. Who wins races....who fights battles....who reaches out to others....by hiding?