Do you value your personal confessions? It is so easy to just roll off the tongue, sorry and go on again in the same old way. Often you see in a young child, sorry and then immediately go back to the exact things which got them into trouble initially. Are they a part of your daily prayer life? How does it feel in church? Does that feel different, and then when the priest uses the words of absolution?:-
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy on you and set you free from sin,
strengthen you in goodness
and keep you in eternal life:
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We all err, we all do wrong, perhaps not deliberately, but it happens. We can all be tempted in many different ways, often very minor, but sometimes not. Equally, we can all be quick to pour on judgement, to criticise, to put ourselves above those who do wrong. I recall the faithful church treasurer, who just borrowed some money to help his son, just temporarily of course. He was sent to prison. He had done wrong and his errors cost him in the end his life. There were certainly some guilty people around in that church. What about the odd malicious words when we are revilled or the uncharitable thoughts. What when we see wrong, and say and do nothing? That is equally to err in God's presence.
The words of Scripture come hurtling back to us,
John 8 4-11
"3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them,4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”6 They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”8 And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.[a]9 When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.10 Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 She said, “No one, sir.”[b]And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again."
We do feel uncomfortable with ourselves when we err, sometimes accidentally and sometimes when we believe we are acting righteously and in good faith. Is it a rite of passage to acknowledge ones wrongs and be absolved? A transition from not knowing to knowing? Do we acknowledge the sacramental, in the act of reconciliation? Is it an sacramental encounter with the divine through the words, actions and anointing or just a process? Do you treasure it?
I came across this, last week and thought it rather powerful.
We ask for forgiveness from our loved ones, our community and God but how often do we so value an individual so much, that we only see the good. We are so positive about that person that although they have erred, that we want them to embrace their old selves again and learn from that. We see and hear about this type of forgiveness, but do we embrace it? God in the simple things of life, love and values us as we are and always wants us to be His children, in whom there is much of value. It is sacramental.