“I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.”
Psalm 38:18 NIV
This week I apologized. Which is a weird thing for me to do. Months ago, I deeply hurt a close friend and knowingly have neglected apologizing out of fear. There has been a sticky note on my desk with her name on it that has been there for at least five weeks reminding me in all its hotline bling pink ink glory to freaking apologize.This week I finally missed her so much that I apologized [I am admittedly selfish.] She’s intensely honest and open and I’ve needed her. She was gracious, forgiving, and kind, and I am so thankful to feel like a friend to her again.
It took me so long because apologizing hasn’t been part of my life or my walk with Christ much at all so far. Repenting of sin is something I don’t normally do on my own. I don’t pray about my sins. I don’t want to. I’ve thought: “I’m working on them [I am admittedly self-righteous] and therefore I don’t need to explain to Him why I’m not actually sorry but I know I should be and I want to keep doing the thing but I’m mad at Him for not letting me do it but I promise I love Him and His ways and eventually I’ll stop.”
Thinking this way has become suffocatingly awkward the closer I get to God.
Sin is an archery term that means missing the mark, missing perfection. Sin deeply and personally offends God. My do or die determination this year is growing closer to a continual and mutual relationship with God. I’m realizing that life sucks and its hard and I’m starving in my loneliness and frustrating patterns of sin that I try to fix it with, so this year so far has been a “if God is really who He says He is, which I believe, then He can fix this and I want Him to,” year. I realize that my relationship is different with Him when I sin against Him, so apologizing has become necessary.
At The House- a campus ministry here at UTC- on Tuesday nights we’ve been taking a minute or two [sometimes it feels like ten] to be silent and confess sins to God. The first week it felt like a tidal wave. I had so many sins I hadn’t confessed. Confessing them was miserable. I didn’t want to talk to God about those things. But after I felt good. My worship felt more real because I was more self-aware and more in awe of Him and the differences between us and my desolation as a human being who sucks at being perfect and His amazingness and giant giant love for me.
Intentional sin- my “big” sins, my habitual sins, are starting to feel similar to how it felt when I hurt my friend because I notice how it affects the relationship. Talking to God is awkward like talking to her [or, more accurately, liking her instagram pictures and not talking] was awkward. It makes me want to apologize because I miss community with Him enough to apologize so He can restore it.
I still don’t apologize for every sin. I hide some. I deny some. I ignore some. I’m unaware of many. I wish I apologized out of reverence for God and sorrow for hurting Him, but at this point it’s still selfishly done to restore a relationship I desperately need. But I’m growing. I’m getting there, and I can feel my intentions change. Which I am thankful for.
This week at The House, Megan Helums spoke about taking off our grave clothes- discarding ways of life that reflect our sinful nature and not our redeemed lives. She read a story that I loved from C.S Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader about Eustice, who has his dragon scales peeled away by Aslan so he can be a boy again. Here’s an excerpt if you want to read it.
“Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was jut the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.
“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”
The process of redemption is delightful to God, just as creating art as a process itself is as delightful as having the art at the end. God loves to make us new. Apologizing, beginning redemption and allowing Him to change my life feels a lot like having scales ripped off. “It smarted like anything but only for a moment… I found that all the pain had gone… and then I saw why.”