Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 19, 2015
As We Confess Our Sins, in Prayer
Confession. What an archaic thing to do, some people say! I’m pretty okay, you’re well-adjusted now. Many of us are finding out the old “sins” of the past can be explained away by psychological means.
What will the people in the pews, the common, ordinary believers, do now? With the “sins” of the past being explained away, sin, itself, becomes minimized down to a minor, nagging difficulty (sort of like a splinter or a stubbed toe).
Wait a minute. That’s not what God says, or what the Bible says. Remember verses such as Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” or 1 John 1:8, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” I suppose those and similar verses could be brushed aside.
There is the opposite predicament. Sort of like a pendulum swing. What about those individuals who feel that they are so sinful that God cannot stand to have them attend worship? Or even pray?
Instead of praying and communicating with God, there is the option of fulfilling faulty, human desires, following those seven deadly sins. (Lust! Greed! Gluttony! Anger! Envy! Just to mention some of them.) These are gods—with a lower case ‘g’—instead of God. These are ways that people lose themselves in things and ways of being that are far removed from God.
On this day when many remember Martin Luther King, Jr., he spoke of different gods (with a small ‘g’). He gave an excellent example of the human predisposition of running after these false gods. He told of a god of science, the god of pleasure, and the god of money, among others. He finished this section with “these transitory gods are not able to save or bring happiness to the human heart. Only God is able.” 
This has been the Gospel message throughout the centuries. Embrace God. Flee evil. Love neighbor. Do justice. We orient our minds and actions toward God, towards service and communication with God. I try to live life and to be responsible for my thoughts, words and actions. I try to experience the fruit of the Spirit in my life and the lives of others. And, as God is my witness, I try to confess my sins.
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 James Melvin Washington, ed., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. (San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco