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Posts Tagged ‘confession’

Some say, “How could a woman end the life of her child?”  This statement is not intended to be cruel, but it is heard as a  judgment.

Others, hoping to be less judgmental, say, “I would never have have an abortion myself, but I believe every woman should have the right to choose.”  This statement sounds compassionate, but to the woman who has had the abortion, it sounds like a comparison: “Abortion is wrong and because I am a good person I wouldn’t do such a terrible thing, but women not capable of doing the right thing should have a choice.”

Both statements are condeming.  Neither offer hope before or after an abortion.

There is a third response.  Trying to imitate Jesus.  Jesus understands why people like you and me sin.  He came to live among us —  to feel our frustration, fears, and sorrow.  He placed Himself in the midst of a messy world.  Jesus loved us so much that He willingly took on our disgrace, our burden, our sin.  Only by living under His Cross am I able to see those hurt by sin (including my own) in a new way.

Days on which we celebrate life are meant to be happy days, but for many they are not.  In the heart of nearly every post-abortive woman is an empty place that is forever expectant and waitiing.  Although she may have believed the lie that there was no room, a cry of sorrow echoes in the room that was always there… waiting.

We cannot go back to erase years of legalized abortion nor the effect on women, men, children, and society.  Mothers who once believed there was no room in their life for a baby now mourn the child whose heart beat so close under their own.  Fathers who once believed there was no room in their life for a baby are now angry at themselves for failing to protect their son or daugher.  Grandparents who once believed there was no room in their lives for a baby now dream of grandchildren that would have filled the rooms of their homes with laughter.

Sometimes, when I am holding my grandsons, my thoughts turn to Mary.  She approached me after I was finished speaking to a group of women.  She asked for my address and phone number.  In the letters and conversations that followed, she confessed two abortions.  “There has been so much pain in my heart,” Mary wrote.  “I could understand how God could forgive a murderer, but not someone who has killed their own child.”

This pain and the belief that she had committed the sin “too big to be forgiven” held Mary captive.  But, “the reason I want to tell you my story,” Mary continued, “is to thank you.  If, years earlier, I had heard the words of compassion and forgiveness that I heard from you, I would not have had a second abortion.  I would have been reconciled to God and turned my life around a lot earlier instead of wallowing in the muck of sin and accusation.”

“Marys” are everywhere… and they are waiting.  They are silently waiting for a word of hope.  Their broken hearts long to be healed.  God has given to me — to you — His Word to speak in love.  To be sure, the Word of Truth presses hard on the source of pain.  The psalmist (Psalm 32:3-5) writes:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

There is hope for women and men who have been pierced by abortion’s blade.  It is Jesus.  In Jesus, all who confess their sin are cleansed and forgiven (1 Timothy 1:15).  In Jesus, the captive is set free (Galatians 5:1).

(The thoughts of this post are available in a
brochure form upon request from Word of Hope or LFL.)

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The man had been taken captive to sin.  It would seem that the man tightly grasped Jesus’ robe of righteousness and let it be his cover.  But, he did not seek help when his marriage and family suffered.  He did not confess sin’s hold on him.  Was there no one to whom he was accountable?

He brought a variety of movies into his home, but was there a reason he avoided “The Passion?”  Many times, I asked his help in equipping us  for spiritual battle.  He didn’t.  Maybe he couldn’t.

Publicly caught in his sin, he did confess — to one time of foolishness. To his wife, he confessed to more.  The public showered mercy and forgiveness upon him.  His wife found herself homeless.  Some tried to hold him to the higher standard of a man who had taken a vow before God, but he maintained that his private life didn’t affect others.

One day, the man told me that his grandson didn’t know how to respond to him.  So, as a grandfather and role-model, the man wrote his beloved grandson a letter of encouragement:  “I understand that you don’t know what to say to me.  Let me offer three suggestions.  You can say, ‘I forgive you.  I love you.  Let’s play golf!'”  After sharing this with me, I feared for the man.  Could this be the summation of his theology?

There was no way I could speak to this man except by using the Word of God.  What follows is part of my letter to him:

My dear friend . . . Moses spoke to the Israelites about the covenant made by God with His people.  No other people had ever received such a promise.  But, in Deuteronomy 29:19, Moses was inspired by the spirit to caution,

Beware  lest there be among you . . . one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’

A commentary on this passage of Deuteonomy reads: “To continue willfully to sin while claiming eternal security in Christ is a dangerous, perhaps even fatal, presumption.”  (One can read the continuing verses 20-29.)

My friend, you have always said that God’s Word changes lives.  For this reason, I proclaim with King David that I love the Word.  It gives me confidence.  It provides instruction.  It leads me to a future of hope.  But, like King David, our bones will waste away and our strength drain away like in the heat of summer if we do not acknowledge, confess, and turn away from our sins (Psalm 32).  You have confessed… in part.  Sadly, I believe you have covered so much repetitive sin with: “I forgive you.  I love you.  Let’s play golf.”

I am as much a sinner as you.  I have my confessed and unconfessed sins.  But, I am called by the Father God to repent and, after I have repented, stop repeating the sin.  I need to be held accountable.  I need others to hold me accountable.  I have and will continue to fail in being righteous.  Thankfully, the forgiveness of God in Christ has been poured out for you and me.  We are washed white as snow for eternity.  But, as one called to be holy, I cannot — must not — cheapen the priceless gift of Jesus Christ by asking for forgiveness and then boldly returning to bad habits, old ways, and repetitive sin.  Such actions carry powerful consequences that reach children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

That being sad, God’s mercy is to thousands of generations of those who love Him.

There is opportunity in this moment.  God has allowed some of your sin to be exposed.  You have expressed sorrow and remorse.  But, confess it all.  Don’t persist in the theology of: “Forgive me.  Love me.  Let’s play golf.”  Confront the pain and grief that years of a repeated sin have caused.  Mourn the loss of the wife that, while sinful herself, remained loyal to your high calling as a Christian leader.  Grieve the loss of damaged relationships with your children.  Confront the reality of your choices.  Be heartsick.  Be sorry.  Be shamed.  Then, turn from your sin… and sin no more.

Watching you these past years, I fear that your bones have been wasting away and your strength drained as in the heat of summer.  Has God’s hand been pressing down on you?   I want this to stop.  Don’t you?

Stop with the “Forgive.  Love.  Let’s play golf.”  Start  new by proclaiming: “Yes, I am forgiven.  yes, Jesus loves me eternally.  Now I must not only face but live with the consequences of my sins.  With the Spirit’s help, I can change my ways.  I beg for mercy and discernment to properly handle the Word of Truth.  I put on the armor of God for continual battle against evil and remind others to do the same.”

This is part of a letter I wrote to my fallen friend.  “Two are better than one . . . for if they fall, one will lift up his fellow, but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up . . .” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).  This letter is also a reminder to me.  My doubt of God’s Word and the sins that follow bear consequences, too.

It’s a mucky and twisted road we travel.  Danger lurks at every turn.  False security leaves us more vulnerable and places others at risk.  Therefore,

Lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed . .  .

(Hebrews 12:12-17; 1 John 1:5-10)

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