Lunchtime in elementary school – what blah memories. Most of us did a brown bag lunch. The content of mine was mind-numbingly predictable: a bologna sandwich, ruffled potato chips in a baggie; 2 discount brand vanilla sandwich cookies and a piece of fruit complemented by a carton of milk from the machine.
The rest of the boys fared no better. So, we got in the habit of eating the best stuff and throwing the rest away. (horrible I know) However, the nuns who taught us caught us. So, Mother Superior ordered that a guard be posted at every trashcan to stem the mindless waste. (this is true – scouts honor)
So, the challenge for us, was to hide the sandwich and the fruit in the tiny milk carton and then smash it so small that, it would appear to be impossible for anything to be in it. We were human trash compactors.
The nun stood behind the receptacle with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face. Sam was the first to try. He put on his best “I’m not guilty of doing anything” look. Then he ambled forward and nonchalantly dropped the compressed 10-pound carton in.
She didn’t blink! He did it! He beat the sentry of the gulag (or maybe it was goulash). The rest of us followed. We successfully smuggled our garbage.
Have you ever tried to do that with sin? Of course, you have. Most of us have.
In the frailty of our humanity, we do something, or say something, or maybe even think something that we shouldn’t. It may be simply an offense against God, or an offense against another person or both.
We are ashamed and fearful of being found out which stirs up a dark mood. King David, a sinner of renown, spoke to God about this. He said, “When I refused to confess my sin, my whole body wasted away, while I groaned in pain all day long.” Psalm 32:3 NET
We try to stem the sour feelings, by stuffing it in a metaphysical milk carton hoping to slip it by the eyes of God. But the soulish part of us continues to point the finger of blame.
To recognize and address it, would feel like adding another thick layer of humiliation. So, we hide it.
David was experienced with the torment – enough to add these words, “Then I confessed my sin; I no longer covered up my wrongdoing. I said, “I will confess my rebellious acts to the Lord.” – 32:5
He faced his failure- confessed his sin. He found understanding, grace and the one thing he needed most “and then you forgave my sins.“ – 32:6 NET
How good it is; how freeing it is to be forgiven. The guilt is gone; the joy returned.
And then do you know what that crazy David did? He confessed it to everyone else as well. He recorded his mess in a Psalm which was to be used in the worship liturgy of Israel.
David eventually stood side-by-side with his people in worship as they sang of his sin in Psalm 32.
What was he thinking? Maybe this! “Well we’re all human. I messed up and I am embarrassed for people to know, but it would be utterly humiliating if I tried to hide my sin and it were discovered. So why not be up front about it? God has forgiven me, and maybe others can learn from my mistakes.”
His fellow worshipper was thinking: “Wow I had no idea, but David sure is an honest and courageous man. Maybe I should be honest about my own sin.”
Maybe we should too!
A PRAYER: Oh God as I finally bare my soul, please fully grant your forgiveness.