If We Just Confess
Sometimes, I strike up conversations with my peers about how they overcome sin in their lives. Most of them share their “light bulb” moments where God enlightened them about their long time issues with control, mammon, selfishness, greed and others. But as I dug deeper, I found out that some of them are still struggling with the same problem. The only difference is that they have just accepted the fact that they are “like that la”!.
I realize from them, and from my life experiences, that a lot of us have the “if we just confess, God will forgive our sins” mentality, which often leads to the problem of complacency and even taking God’s grace for granted.
The Past Still Haunts
I was reading the book “Soul Survivor” by Philip Yancey and came across a deceased Christian author and priest, Henri Nouwen, who faced long-repressed homosexual desires. This created a dilemma for him because he was a devout Christian, but his feelings just wouldn’t go away. Henri came to a conclusion that he either remained a celibate priest and bore in anguish, or leave the priesthood and seek gay companion. Any Christian would say, “Of course stay a celibate priest! God still loves you and will take care of you” and in our minds we believe that God will somehow magically take away those homosexual feelings. But according to Henri Nouwen’s close friends, he had to deal with it all his life.
ALL HIS LIFE? Yes. Believe me when I say that even until today, I am struggling with the sins of 20 years ago. While Henri’s thorn may be a little far-fetched from what most of us are facing, most of us do have dark pasts that we may or may not have already confessed to God about. But whether we have confessed or not, it will still be a past that we need to face and it would be foolish if you think that “once I have confessed it, it is no more a problem”.
From Cross to Glory
I attended a very special Easter Sunday service when I was a varsity student. There was a huge cross-shaped log that lay behind the pastor as he preached. As he ended his sermon, we were each given a small piece of paper. “I encourage you all to write down on the paper the darkest and most heinous sin you are still struggling with. And together, I want you to come up and nail it on the cross, just as Christ bore all your sins on that cross.” Nothing happened as I scribbled on the paper and walked up to the altar. But when I lifted up the hammer and put down my first strike on the nail, my hand trembled as I felt like I was nailing Jesus on the cross due to my sin.
Before the service ended, the cross was lifted up so that it stood high before us. “Be joyous as God has borne your sins and He will use them for His glory”. That statement struck a chord in me as I had no idea how a sin can be turned into glory. Then I realized, just as you will too, that our experiences in overcoming sin in Christ is what God uses to mold, shape and guide us into what He wants us to be, and He will use what we have learned to be a light unto others as well. So, let us all shine a light on the sins that we have overcome so that it can be turned into God’s glory.