Recently, I read Isaiah 42:18-20:
“You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it.
you hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen.”
Confession has never been my strong point. I’m good at ignoring my sin. Frankly, I don’t even like to use that word and sometimes I draw a blank. But somewhere along the way [via Richard Foster perhaps?} I came across the two pronged approach of examination and confession. First you examine yourself, then you confess what you need to. I like this because it suggests you’re not expected to have instant self-knowledge.
Then I thought it would be helpful to get a list of sins so I could have a measuring stick. Interestingly, I did several google searches and couldn’t find one on the internet. I would have thought that some regimented person would have done an exhaustive list of sins mentioned in the Bible. I did find a few piecemeal lists and then some which aren’t scripture-based but sound like a zealous parent trying to teach their children every single little behavior. Maybe it’s just as well I didn’t find the list though, because I doubt sin can be reduced to a simple checklist.
Why do it?
I think part of my problem with examination and confession is that I don’t have the proper view of it. As I thought about it I came up with some reasons that really motivate me, in a good way:
*To be righteous: right, straight, whole, holy. Examination as medical diagnostics.
*To make a free and open channel for the Holy Spirit to flow through.
*To have nothing darkening God’s light in me.
Then there is the organic model based on being a branch attached to the vine [following John 15]:
*Dry wood needs to be pruned
*Fungus needs to be cleansed away
*Bad growing habits need to be retrained.
*Weeds need to be pulled out before they choke growth
*Nutrient deficits need to be countered
Perhaps it would be good if I started a monthly examination. I could do it the day before our church’s monthly communion…
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”