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New Beginnings: Forgiveness

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 
1 John 1:9

                as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 
                 Psalm 103:12

                Most of us do not give a thought to confessing our sins, as in each individual sin or type of sin.  If we do ask God to forgive us, we usually do it in an off-handed way such as, Forgive me for my sins, Lord. Amen.  Perhaps we ought to give it a little more thought.  What does confess mean?  It means to agree with God about what he says about sin.  Confessing should mean that we really look into our hearts for attitudes and actions that are contrary to scripture.  What does the Bible say?

                Sometimes we break sin down into categories, big and small:  It's just a little white lie.  Nobody was hurt. Its not gossip!  I am just making conversation. Nobody saw me do it, so no one got hurt. Why does my neighbor have such a big house?  I deserve it as much as he does. 

                Then, there are the BIG sins: I don't commit adultery.  I would never steal anyone's pension funds! I have never killed anyone!  I would never sexually abuse a child! I have never had an abortion. God would never forgive me if I did anything like that. Guess what?  Sin is sin in God's sight. Sin is anything that gets between us and God.  It might even be, heaven forbid, loving my spouse or child more than loving God!

                So our first step is confessing, agreeing with God about what is sin in our lives then being sincerely sorry about it; following that up with a change in thought or behavior.  You are not really sorry if you continue doing the same old thing after confessing.

I have always loved the snow. After a snow I want to be the first one out in the morning before anyone walks on it, or drives on it or messes it up in any way. I want to enjoy it in its blinding newness before anyone makes snowmen or goes sledding in it. I love the perfection of the snow's total cleanliness.  That is what God can do with any sin or any kind of life.  Let him wash away your sins.  Then they will be remembered no more by him and in his sight you will be "whiter than snow." He gives us a new beginning.

Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7b).

Pat Eppler                                                                        

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