January 27, 2021
Psalm 51:1 (NLT) – “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.”
Have you ever been “caught” in a sin? That word “caught” can sound so dramatic. When I think about being “caught”, I can’t help but visualize the burglar, with the black eye mask, holding a sack of jewelry, surrounded by the police. There is no way out. Another visualization is the mouse that is trying to wiggle free, after it has been “caught” in the glue trap. There is no way out. I experienced something similar in the 8th grade.
In the 8th grade, I attended a very small, private Christian school in Staten Island. I had a wonderful teacher that we will call “Mr. Smith”. Mr. Smith had a way of encouraging you to learn. He made learning fun, and I remember having a strong desire to learn and to make him proud. Perhaps that is why, on this particular day, I lied. You see, we had a very important homework assignment in Math. This homework assignment was going to help us prepare for our standardized test. Here was the problem: I totally forgot about the assignment, and I didn’t do the work. He was walking around the room with his grade book in his hand, grading the homework. Oh no! I looked down at th
e blank pages in my workbook. There were so many blanks and problems. I thought to myself, “Maybe he is just looking for activity on the pages. He’s not looking at the actual questions.” So, I proceeded to randomly fill in the blanks with numbers that made no sense. I created mathematical formulas of buffoonery, hoping that he would just pass me by, and give me the credit. I was so sure of myself...until he paused over my shoulder. I turned around and looked at his face. It was the first time that I ever saw a look of disappointment on this man’s face. He simply asked me, “Chris, did you do your homework?” Oh my goodness! He didn’t ask anyone else that question. Why is he asking me this question? The whole class is looking towards my direction, waiting to hear what would come out of my mouth. I didn’t say anything, but I motioned towards the foolish scribble in the workbook, motioning that I obviously did my homework. His face was saddened, and I can tell that he was more disappointed. Then he shook his head and said these words...words that I will never forget, “Chris, you deceived me.” I felt like I wanted to cry. A couple of my friends started to snicker, but I didn’t think it was funny. I hurt him. He believed in me, and I tried to deceive him. During the lunch period, I went to him and apologized, holding back tears. He gave me a hug and prayed with me, and helped me confess my sin of deception to the Lord. I told him that I would never do that to him again, and I truly meant it.
That was the very first time that I ever confessed something, without the fear of getting a spanking. I truly felt like I broke the trust of someone who cared for me. I did not confess my sin with the hope of getting out of trouble. I confessed because what I did was wrong, and I desired to be forgiven. Confession is an opportunity to come face to face with our human nature and tendencies. Whenever we confess our sins to the Lord, He does not distance Himself from us, but instead, He draws nearer to us. It can be a frightening experience, but it is also a way of creating a strong connection with the Lord. My desire for forgiveness is greater than my desire for getting out of trouble.
In Psalm 51, David expresses the very same sentiment. David wrote a song about confession, after he was “caught” in a murderous, adulterous affair. His confession was motivated by a desire to be forgiven. He did not want to hide his confession, but instead, he used his failure as a ministry tool for others to see and hear his desire to make things right with God. I encourage you to read Psalm 51 in its entirety today. As you continue these 21 days of hunger, I encourage you to cultivate a desire to confess your faults before the Lord, before you are “caught”. I pray that you are motivated because you love the Lord, and that you are convinced that He loves you too.
Confession is an opportunity to come face to face with our human nature and tendencies.
Now that’s Good Word.