Contrition, Confession, Repentance and Thanks For November

Children are brilliant.

A set of siblings have a unique understanding of how they operate and are able to get away with certain things because of what they can communicate between each other and then to the outside world. It’s so fascinating getting insight into their thinking and their dynamic.

I was watching a set of brothers. Three of them there were. It transpired that one of them had taken something he shouldn’t have. I asked the eldest one who did it, and he said it was the middle one, but he wouldn’t admit it out of fear of being punished and angering the particular parent whose fuse was known for being remarkably short. I could understand the reluctance but then I said, wouldn’t matters be worse when it was discovered that not only did the middle brother do it, but in failing to confess his volatile parent it was going to make the parent go through the roof. The elder brother used that to reason with the middle sibling who at first was insistent that he was not going to risk it. I then said I would talk to the parent on his behalf to soften the blow. As it was, he looked at his younger brother who was very nervous about all of them suffering punishment and plucked up the courage to confess. As it transpired they caught the parent on a good day and though he displayed some displeasure it was perfectly reasonable.

Looking at the episode, though, it made me think of my relationship with my heavenly Father. Confessing things has been difficult for me because of the sense of letting someone down and admittedly looking like a loser in my failing, especially if it’s a repeat. When it comes to God, though, there is something about his irrepressible mercy that makes it very difficult to make any progress without confessing. He’s not giving me a guilt trip at all – I am giving that to myself for free. It is sad because it’s not as though God is a volatile Father who blows up at every sin I commit. He doesn’t condone it, overlook it or accommodate for it. He still hates sin. It’s just that He loves me and wants the relationship between us to be clear and it can be clear as soon as I confess. It’s about remembering the nature of the relationship based on grace that helps me above sin and helps me to recover when I sin. He has put everything in place for that to happen. He does that because he is a loving, caring Father who yearns to be with His creation. It should make me run to Him when I fall and ask for forgiveness. It’s something I am still learning as I reflect on His good, good character.

The fruit of doing so is seen when I lay my all before Him, confess with a contrite heart and endeavour by His grace to repent. What I find extremely useful is that repentance is about a desire for Him where He fills in those places where my own desires had its way. He says if I delight in Him then I won’t find the time to mess up. If my delight is Him and I find Him to be the treasure beyond measure then adversity can come, tempration can appear and I am equipped to stay on the right path. A path that He is on with me, and that he’s eager to walk with me so we can make progress to discovering even more wonderful and awe-inspiring aspects of His nature.

That has meant of late the discovery that if He has forgiven and restored me, there’s no need for me to carry on moping as though I can disqualify myself. I might as well just get back on track and walk with Him and enjoy His wondrous, beautiful nature and character in operation across His creation.

I am grateful to God for His mercy, compassion and grace.

While I’m being grateful I put on record my gratitude to my loving Father for the month of November. It’s been a very good month indeed. Not because it was my birthday. Indeed, without sounding off, it was one of the most unremarkable birthdays of my life. The month in itself has been a very good one in terms of progress with some pivotal relationships that have emerged this year. I’ve been a part of some gatherings that have been outstanding in learning aspects of life in groups and the power of men together in prayer. Of late I’ve also been reading up on fasting and been intrigued with some of what I’ve come across. That has made this month a very positive one. Possibly the best month of this year and for that God deserves so much of thanks.

So thanks, Father.

Can I have an even better month in December, please?

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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