honesty about sin means honesty about salvation

I read this gem in my Lent devotional this morning, from philosopher Søren Aabye Kierkegaard:

“Sin is the despairing refusal to find your deepest identity in your relationship and service to God. Sin is seeking to become oneself, to get an identity, apart from God.”

I don’t like thinking about my sin, even though it seems I’m always aware of it and always fighting shame against it. But it is a private shame, one I push beneath workflow and to the corners of social plans. I don’t like that I stumble and fail and forget lessons I learned the hard way. I don’t like that I require crazy amounts of patience from God, as He reteaches my heart to submit and love and serve and obey.

But, when I finally speak my sin into the light I realize how much energy I spent keeping it in the dark. Not that my efforts to hide selfishness and pride can keep anything from my Maker (and, of course I know that), but shame is a great and sly motivator.

When I confess my sin, I distance myself from any identity associated with rebellion and lean on the identity of the One who saves. But this relief only comes by way of honest confession.

So many times, I will kneel in church or pause for prayer and search my mind for something to confess. Satan somehow clears all the sin I have been shamefully hiding and replaces that elephant space in my mind with silent whiteness. My thoughts don’t even wander, there is just nothing there at all. Later, of course, the sins creep out from the corners to remind me that I am unworthy.

My heart needs confession (honesty about my sin) because my heart desperately needs forgiveness (honesty about salvation).

There is just no way around it, but there is also no greater glory to be found. God welcomes our confession and exchanges us a crown. He covers us in His grace and grants us inexplicable joy.

He leads us like a shepherd and chases us when we stray. What a beautiful friend we have in Jesus, friends – that He would chase down a forgetful and frightened heart to offer perfect freedom from shame.

what it means to cling

It’s a strange unsteady that catches me today – grieving the evil and glorying in the God who overcomes. I can’t see how anyone who puts thought to theological matters can be any less than always emotional – either deeply despairing or deeply delighting. It is both despair and delight at once that stretch me and today I read these words that remind me of the tension,

“In all your longing to love as Christ loved, you sometimes forget that true love for one thing will, or at least it should, produce a hatred for whatever stands against it.” (from Note to Self by Joe Thorn)

I do forget. I forget that loving as Christ means hating what stands in opposition. “Hate” sounds unpopular. It sounds… mean. But when I forget to develop a healthy hate for my sin, I make friends with destruction. When I forget to develop a healthy hate for the sin in others, I lead friends to destruction.

And in all this, I am finding what it means to cling.

In the strange unsteady that rocks my boat today, I am learning to cling like my life depends on my grip. My desperate hold is always rewarded by the unfaltering strong arms of my Redeemer, who reminds me my life depends on His strength.

O, Heart Bereaved and Lonely
Words by Fanny Crosby

1. O heart bereaved and lonely,
Whose brightest dreams have fled
Whose hopes like summer roses,
Are withered crushed and dead
Though link by link be broken,
And tears unseen may fall
Look up amid thy sorrow,
To Him who knows it all

2. O cling to thy Redeemer,
Thy Savior, Brother, Friend
Believe and trust His promise,
To keep you till the end
O watch and wait with patience,
And question all you will
His arms of love and mercy,
Are round about thee still

3. Look up, the clouds are breaking,
The storm will soon be o’er
And thou shall reach the haven,
Where sorrows are no more
Look up, be not discouraged;
Trust on, whate’er befall
Remember, O remember,
Thy Savior knows it all