‘Return, faithless Israel,
says the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
for I am merciful,
says the Lord;
I will not be angry for ever.
Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree,
and that you have not obeyed my voice,
says the Lord.
“Confession is good for the soul”, so said a wise man. Have you ever done something wrong and regretted it? Of course, you have. We all have. Depending on how bad the wrong is we may even develop more than regret. We may develop a sick feeling inside. One of the most elementary truths of human nature is that when we do wrong, our conscience hurts. If we burry that hurt under a mountain of false feelings and try to forget it, it will only fester to the surface at some later point in time.
I think one of the reasons I love the season of Lent so much is that, to me, it’s like a 40-day confession. I want to spend each day considering my own sins and failures and asking the Lord not only to forgive me, but to cleanse me. And then, to uphold me with His righteousness to keep me from falling. The only way we can truly be prepared for the miracle of new life that comes at Easter, is to confess, repent, and allow the healing ministry of the Holy Spirit to cleanse us.
Jeremiah reminded the people of Israel and Judah just how faithless they were. They had left their God for other gods, even after all He’d done for them. But the message God gave to them was one of forgiveness, not judgement. If they would repent, He would forgive. That’s still His message to our world.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Today is a great day to consider your ways. Let the Holy Spirit search you and see if there be any wicked ways within (Psalm 139:23).
My daily Lenten prayer – “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit. ” NRSV