Why your confession should have no excuses

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Confession means you are forgiven and forgiveness is freedom.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if all my horrible acts were made public. What if all my private vent sessions were played on the radio? What if all my mean-spirited texts and emails were published on this blog? What if all the horrible gossip that’s come out of my mouth was said directly to those people?

I’d be a fraud. A liar and a hypocrite, going around like I’m an enlightened individual when deep down I know how disgraceful I can be.

When God looks at my heart He sees everything – the truth – the book of my life┬áis filled with an account of everything I’ve ever said and written, but also thought and felt.

I am in big trouble.

God, however, is better than me. He is compassionate and forgiving.

This brings me to today’s quote on repentance. God came for us sinners, for people like me: the Publican, criminal and harlot. Even though He knows all that I’ve done when I say sorry He says “It’s okay.” When I screw up He says “No problem” and FORGETS IT ALL, rebooting the hard drive of my sick and ugly soul.

Lent is a time for confessions of guilt – without excuse or justification. Own it. Confess it and let it go. You are F-R-E-E! Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that I could be so lucky, that forgiveness is real, but God really does love us and He really does give us a new beginning so long as we ask, and so long as we mean it with all our heart.

The Canon of St. Andrew of Crete that is used during Lent is filled with confessions of guilt – no excuses, no rationalizations, no justifications.

Here are some of the prayers:

“More than all men I have sinned; I alone have sinned against Thee. But as God take pity on Thy creation, O Savior.”

“I have adorned the idol of my flesh with a many-colored coat of shameful thoughts, and I am condemned.”

“Like the harlot I cry to Thee, I have sinned. I alone have sinned against Thee. Accept my tears as a sweet ointment, O Savior.”

“Like the Publican I cry to Three; be merciful, O Savior, be merciful to me. For no child of Adam has ever sinned against Thee as I have sinned.”

The thief on the cross who acknowledged his sin, heard Jesus say to him,

“Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

With this statement of confession, John Chrysostom says the thief sprang right off the cross into paradise.

Our God is a good God. How lucky we are to have Him!

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