When We Agree With God About Us
Every week in my church we have an opportunity to confess our brokenness and the ways we have both intentionally and unintentionally strained our relationship with God.
One of the Greek words for "confess" actually just means "to agree." In other words, when we confess to God all the things we've done or left undone--things that have done violence to the peace of God (shalom in Hebrew)--we are simply agreeing with what God already knows about us.
As part of the worship service in my church, we follow our out-loud confession with a time of silence. In that silence, I often find myself reflecting on the same issues every single week---the same "agreements" with God about what I've done to keep shalom from happening in, through and around me.
It's sobering when you realize just how hard bad habits are to break, and how we tend to go back to them even when we know better. E. Stanley Jones once wrote, "We do not break the laws of God written into the nature of things. We break ourselves upon them."
I have known so many people who decided that since they will always be sort of chipped and cracked after crashing against God's righteousness and holiness, it's just not worth it. They give up. They believed the lie that's often told in church-y circles that being chipped and cracked isn't how a Christian is supposed to look, so they walked away from it all.
At one point during his attempts at a new invention, Thomas Edison tried eleven hundred experiments that all failed. When asked if it had all been wasted time, Edison replied, "I found out eleven hundred ways how not to do it."
There are two ways to take Edison's remark. You can see it as eleven hundred mistakes, or you can see it the way Edison saw it: as eleven hundred second-chances, eleven hundred separate moments of grace on the way to something greater.
1 John 1:9 reminds us of this grace and offers an incredible promise. "When we confess our sins," it reads, "the One who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I love this. "...the One who is faithful and just will forgive..."
Our chips, cracks, blemishes and brokenness aren't ugly evidences of our failure. They should not bring us to despair. They are beautiful reminders of all of the separate moments of grace we've received on our way to something greater.
May you feel the joyous weight of God's great grace today and everyday. May you find hope and peace as you agree with what God already knows about you, and realize that God loves you fiercely, no matter what.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.