Nothing to Fear

Hi there!  How is everybody today?  Hopefully your Lenten observances are going well, bringing you closer to Jesus.  That’s the point, remember?  So, grab a cuppa and find a comfy spot to relax a minute.  We’re into what the Church calls “Holy Week” now.  Easter is this coming Sunday.  We’ve talked a lot about looking very closely at our own lives, measuring ourselves against Jesus’ standards, and making things right.  Remember a few weeks ago, we agreed to be fearless during Lent?

So, we’ve looked at it all.  Maybe we’ve seen some good things we hadn’t noticed before.  That’s always wonderful!  But maybe we’ve also seen some places we need to change, some habits we need help with, or just plain need to start an honest relationship with Jesus.  He has a plan!

Maybe it’s been a very long time since you talked to Him.  Maybe you never have.  Maybe you’ve been far away and are just sure He’s angry with you over what you’ve done, or maybe what you’ve failed to do.  Maybe you were terribly hurt, and out of that hurt, you sought comfort and solace in all the wrong places.  Maybe you made one of those rash “I’ll never go back!!!” statements.  He has a remedy!

The remedy is repentance.  Confession.  Personal, or formal; alone, or with a spiritual director of some sort.  What’s that?  You’re afraid?  Embarrassed? Why?  Why would I not want to go to the One I love most, the One who loves me so much He literally died for me, to sit down and talk to Him and agree with what we both already know, so He can heal me and set me free? Where’s the fear in that?

Our human pride hates to admit when we’re wrong.  It seems like things can remain hidden and secret until we talk about them. But that’s a lie, to keep us in bondage.  The Scripture says:  ‘And before Him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.’  Heb 4:13, RSVCE  It also says,  “Even the darkness is light to Him” (Ps 139:12) and “He knows my thoughts from afar”. (v.2)

If all that is true, what is there to fear? He knew my ways and my days before there were yet one of them, and yet He willingly went to the cross and laid down His life in one of the most painful and tortuous forms of death ever invented. He did that for me, before I ever drew my first breath, knowing full well every sin I would ever commit.

Everybody thinks they know all about ‘Catholic Confession’.  Protestants, well, protest.  ‘I don’t need a priest, I can go straight to God.’  Yes, you can!  Of course you can!    Atheists don’t think there is a God, so they don’t have a problem.  Except their life isn’t working as well as they hoped; they have all this weight that they can’t figure out.  In various faith traditions on my journey, I sometimes felt the need to talk to someone and have them pray with me about things that were wrong in my life.  Usually I just talked to a friend and left it at that.  Maybe I prayed the “I’m sorry, Jesus” prayer.  But sometimes, deep down inside, I longed for someone with some God-given spiritual authority to be sort of a witness and affirm that God had indeed forgiven me.  I needed to talk to “Jesus with skin on”.

He created me, so He knew what I would need when (not if) I messed up.  He knew my human psyche would need to verbally own its responsibilities and physically hear words of forgiveness and pardon. Even modern psychology says that religions who practice confession of sins to a priest or pastor have people who are much healthier emotionally than those who don’t.  Every 12-step program has a step of ‘telling the whole story’ to someone, out loud. Alcoholics Anonymous says it this way: “We admitted to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”  Those programs recognize our need to be known at our core and to be accepted anyway. Those who go to Confession frequently, say monthly, are even better – they aren’t carrying around any ‘secrets’.  It’s all been laid out there and dealt with.

There are still a few days left before Easter.  Why not take this opportunity to clear the air with the Lord? Maybe you need to get alone someplace and just spill it to Him.  Maybe you need to talk to someone.  Maybe you need to use the Sacrament of Confession if that’s part of your tradition.  However your particular tradition does it, just do it.  With the weight off your shoulders, you will be free to really celebrate Easter!

 

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