My kid loves a clean, dry diaper.
He is miserable in a wet one.
He is utterly undone by a poopy one.
But clean him up and peace fills his world again.
I know what that feels like. The discomfort of my own soil.
Every day I have things that require cleansing. Selfish thoughts. Hurtful words. Defensive responses. Thoughtless comments. Judgmental reactions. Rash actions. Bitterness grows roots in my heart. Anger swirls in my gut. Sourness taints my mind. Every day I soil my own life. And I become miserable.
Being soiled affects everything else about life. The discomfort makes me someone I’m not. I can’t think straight. I can’t communicate well. I can’t sleep well. I can’t enjoy life. But, the feeling of being clean is AMAZING. Being clean sets me free to engage with my life and loves again.
Straight up: This soiled girl needs help getting clean. And I need help repairing the damage I’ve done in my own life and in the lives of those around me. And, here’s the awesome news: Yahweh knows all about this. He knows what the soil of sin does to my soul. He knows that I need help getting clean. And, incredibly, this God of the universe has offered to help me have exactly what I need.
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NLT)
But we humans are super passionate about finding ways to not need God. We love to create our own “solutions.” And we feel so proud about it!
10 ways to not feel soiled even though we are.
100 ways to clean ourselves that don’t actually work but at least we did it ourselves.
1000 ways to justify, rationalize, and even glorify our soiled selves.
1,000,000 ways to not need God ever.
The problem is, no matter how passionate we are to not need God ever, we cannot escape the toll of living soiled. Soiled diapers eat at your skin. Welts grow from the irritation of the waste. Full diapers sag under the weight and begin to seep. The smell grows as bacteria thrives. Why in the world would we think that staying dirty is in anyway desirable?!
Pride. Shame. Fear. Tiredness. These are just some of the reasons I want to keep away from the cleaning Hand of God. On some level, I must believe I am safer in my own mess. And I feel afraid of having to be part of the work of cleaning and rebuilding. I get so tired of needing to be cleaned. I think it’s just easier to sweep it under a rug and go on with life.
But, all of those things are lies. Lies from our enemy. Let’s remember the truth: The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10 NLT)
Getting clean is wonderful. My baby knows it. And my heart knows it too.
Confessing sin is about acknowledging that we soil ourselves and acknowledging that we need God to clean us. It’s really very simple. And beautiful. He lays out a blanket of Grace and invites us to sit with Him and talk about the cleaning we need. He shines His Light on our darkest places and gently replaces the decay with His Love. He washes away the dirt of our sin and clothes us in new beginnings.
Confession, repentance, and forgiveness is His gift of Freedom to us. It’s not to point out our failings! It’s to release us from the weight and pain and seeping toxicity of those failings.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:8-9 NLT) Emphasis added
How are you? Been cleaned by Him lately? Today you can. Even right now! It only takes a quiet minute (maybe on your next visit to the bathroom?!) to ask Him to show you something that needs to be cleaned. Acknowledge the issue of sin.* Let your heart feel the regret and choose repentance. And ask Him to give you forgiveness. And then know, you are forgiven. No matter what the enemy tries to tell you, when God forgives you, you are forgiven.
(* For me sin usually is one of two things: I let something be bigger than God (e.g. fear, anxiety, pursuits, idols) or I let something be more important that Love (e.g. treating people poorly). Of course each of us have our own issues but if you’re not sure where to start, maybe my top two issues can be a springboard for your forgiveness journey!)
This is the life God has for us: Clean and Free. Even it if it means needing to be cleaned over and over every day. Truth: He is not shocked by our sin. Truth: He is passionate about helping us be cleaned. Truth: We need Confession and Forgiveness.
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
(Psalm 32:1-5 NLT)
_ _ _
Why I’m blogging about Confession and Forgiveness today:
This week I felt God show me some areas of “little” sin that have been causing ongoing issues in my life. Little issues of fear of safety (because there have been break-ins in our neighborhood), anxiety about health (because I have a chronic illness), fear about finances (because I have a lifelong experience of financial struggle), guilt about leaving my family (because I moved across the planet 16 years ago and left them), bitterness about being unloved (because I’ve experienced deep rejection), anger towards people who have hurt me (because, hello, they really hurt me!), a thought-life that wastes time and energy (because day dreaming about a different life is fun?)… and the list goes on. And, you can see, I have GREAT reasons why and justifications for these issues being part of my life.
As the Spirit showed me these areas, I saw how each of them had become idols in my life. I had made them more powerful than God in my life. And so I confessed my sin of idolizing these things and I repented of my justifications and I asked Him to forgive me. And He washed me clean. I also confessed them to my husband because James 5:16 gives us a scary, beautiful, vulnerable, relationship-fortifying path: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16 NLT)
These “little” sins have been my companions for quite a few years. I had no idea they had become such strongholds in my life! I am shocked that I’ve been wearing a stinky diaper for so long. What a horrible waste of energy and emotion. It’s really affected my quality of life. It’s really affected my freedom and joy.
Of course, there is so much more we could talk about in regards to Confession, Repentance, and Forgiveness. It’s a major doctrine of our Faith! But for now, let’s just say this: We need it. We need cleaning. Every day. Multiple times a day. Walk with the Holy Spirit and get cleaned up as you go. Don’t let it build up. Don’t let it rob your life.