1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Ezra’s prayer: Ezra 9:6 “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to You, my God, because our sins [my sin] are higher than our heads [my head] and our guilt [my guilt] has reached to the heavens.”
Sometimes, (actually often) I sin so badly, so blatantly that I am ashamed to face God in my prayers. I know I’ve done wrong and I feel guilt (which is a good thing) and I dread talking to Him about how miserably I’ve failed Him again (and again and again).
Down deep inside, I really want to suspend praying for a few days and let the whole thing blow over, let these feelings dissipate; Somehow, maybe He’ll forget what I did! Maybe I can clean up my act for a few days, do some “good” things, and then I’ll look better to Him once again.
But for my sake (and maybe even for His sake) I need to address this with Him… and right now. Even if it were possible for my Lord to forget and overlook what I’ve done and move on, which of course it isn’t possible, I can’t seem to set my sins aside, to push them out of my mind. I know what a sin-failure I am. How I miss the mark all the time; And I hate that feeling of unrepentant sin hanging over my head. I sort of feel unclean or un-whole. And the longer I avoid dealing with it—confessing it—to Him, the more distracted and unsettled I feel and the worse the whole thing gets. I’m compounding the problem by sweeping it under the rug so to speak, and making God out to be a liar (see 1 John 1:9 above) which is an egregious sin all on its own!
It’s honestly refreshing and uplifting to get the burden off my shoulders. I still feel badly about asking Him to forgive me yet once again (and often for the same sins, over and over), but I have to trust that He will do so. To me, that’s the very essence of what faith is all about. I have to believe what He has said, what He claims, what He has promised, or my faith is a joke and unfounded. So, I trudge back to my prayer time, head hung low, sometimes in tears, and softly ask Him to cleanse me once again.
Oh, Lord, how can You ever possibly love me? I’m such a jerk sometimes!
At times, my sins come so easily. But again, it comes down to faith. I have to believe that He knew on that cross every single one of my sins—every single time I would let Him down…fail Him…hurt Him with my sin—and yet He loved me enough to stay on that cross…because He IS God.
If I had been in His place, with the power to come down from that cross, in my human weakness… I know I would have. But He didn’t, because He IS God.
I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit convicts me so strongly when I sin.
I want Him to. I need Him to. And I’m thankful that He does!
WHAT A GOD OF GRACE!
By: Lee Pierce