Penitence, the result of fully facing your own sin, leading to true repentance, is an integral spiritual discipline of Lent. The gift of repentance only comes to the penitent heart, providing the courage of confession.
Yet instead of coming to God in sorrow and humility, we come bearing an armload of excuses for our sin, finding true confession and subsequent forgiveness difficult.
This Lenten season, I feel drawn to a new level of transparency with God, especially regarding my sin before and against Him.
Rather than engaging in the self-righteous practice of comparison games of numbering the countless sins of others, while minimizing my own, I choose to sit with my own sin transparently before God.
Facing sin with courage
Continuing my journey through selected psalms this Lenten season, Psalm 6 leads me to the courage of confession, by willingly facing the consequences of my sin.
The first of seven psalms of penitence, David leads us through the humility of honest confession before God.
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?
4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
Though not given the circumstances for this psalm, David clearly issues an agonized plea amid physical and spiritual distress. Realizing his suffering relates to the consequence of his own sin, he courageously cries out to God for mercy, though he knows God is justified in His wrath.
the confidence of confession
Psalm 6 vividly portrays the physical consequences of sin through imagery of deep agony within his very bones, coupled with excessive weeping. The literal physical pain issues forth as groanings and even sleep becomes illusive.
But David’s sin is not only seen in his physical agony, but the agony of his spirit’s anguish at the separation from God he feels soul deep.
Yet, even in this place of physical and spiritual torment, David lifts his eyes to the only place of help: God’s unfailing love and mercy to all who fear Him.
Allowing to us once again see the transition from a place of hopelessness to a place of confident Hope in God’s infinite love and forgiveness.
The Courage of Confession
David’s confident confession makes no excuses. His humility within his penitence shuns the typical expression of sorrow followed by “but…” listing all the reasons someone else bears responsibility for his sin.
This particular aspect of David’s confession rests heavily upon my heart. Too often my engagement over my sin is others focused, rather than God focused.
Meaning, either I seek to justify my actions by blame-shifting and excuses, or I hide in fear of God’s wrath, rather than confidently resting in His unfailing love.
Embrace a Penitent Heart
Embracing a penitent heart during Lent involves honesty, humility, and Hope.
Determinedly seek a transparent posture before God regarding your own sin. Then rest before Him as His beloved child, confident of His unfailing love while confessing your sin with:
- Honesty. Willingly view the physical and spiritual consequences of your sin. Notice how deceived thoughts have affected you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- Humility. Openly bring your sin before God without any justification, excuses, or minimizing. Ask for eyes to see it as He does.
- Hope. Remember God hears the cries of a contrite heart, and only brings conviction for the express purpose of setting you free through forgiveness and reconciliation.
the healing of confession
Anchored in confidence of God’s unfailing love and forgiveness, David freely, honestly, and humbly poured his heart out before God in the face of his sin.
Though the consequences of my own sin hold me in terror and distress, because of God’s unfailing love and mercy, I will not remain there.
When, with a penitent heart I courageously confess my brokenness and sinfulness before God, I experience abundant mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation, healing the ravages of sin within my body, soul, and spirit, while restoring blessed communion.
tell his story link up
I am thrilled to be the new host of Tuesday’s Tell His Story Link up! Jeanne Takenaka and I share the link up on alternate weeks, with Jeanne hosting the first and third Tuesdays, as well as the occasional fifth Tuesday, and my hosting the second and fourth Tuesdays!
Each week we gather here as storytellers, word weavers, and encouragers to make His name known. Our story is God’s story and this small corner of the blogging world, where we come together each Tuesday, needs you.
This is a place where poetry, snapshots, prayers, and stories find a safe spot to nod in agreement that what we have to say matters. I am glad you are here and would love to have you join the #TellHisStory community!
Click over here to read more about the #TellHisStory community and find a button to add to your site.
Let’s Link Up!
All content is copyrighted and the intellectual property of Donna M. Bucher, Serenity in Suffering 2020.