People frequently ask about what they should confess. I have listed in the bulletin during the past pre-Lenten and Lenten Sundays several passages from scripture which spoke about things we should confess. Here is another passage from this past week’s Lenten readings from the Book of Proverbs.
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that hurry to run to evil,
a lying witness who testifies falsely,
and one who sows discord in a family.
Notice how the entire body is brought into this – eyes, tongue, hands, heart, feet. Think about how you use your body and to what ends and purposes.
Do you bring yourself closer to God, and reconcile yourself to family and friends? Do you bring peace to your family and friends or sow discord, anger, enmity, strife? Do you gossip, or plot with some people against others? Do you care about the salvation of those around you, or do you simply use them for your own selfish purposes? Do you make yourself apologize for wrongs you do, and offer forgiveness to others when they hurt, fail or offend you? Do you in your heart and mind carefully plan how to do some evil so that you don’t get caught or so that others might get blamed for what you have done or so that you look good at the expense of others? Do you lie in order to avoid blame or to get others into as much trouble as you are in? Do you have some need to look better than others? Are you always envious of others? Are you greedy – always desiring what others have or even wishing ill on others who have things you don’t? Do you pronounce judgment on others because you feel morally superior? Do you want others to notice all the good you do so they will think highly of you? Are you jealous and vengeful when others get noticed or credited and you aren’t noticed or credited for what you’ve done?
Some might say the above mentioned behaviors are really about what is normative in the work world – cut throat competition for recognition, reward, advancement. But even if that is true and you feel compelled toward certain behaviors in the work place, can you see that bringing those same behaviors into your homes, families, neighborhoods and church, can be extremely destructive? Can you learn to control yourself so that lying, jealousy, envy, greed, anger, judgmentalism, divisiveness, gossip, blaming, whining, selfishness and self-centeredness are recognized for the destructive sins which they are
rather than accepted because “everyone does them”?
Take a look at yourself, think about your body:
Where are your eyes wandering off to? What do you look for and at? Are your eyes motivated by greed and lust to look for what you desire and want to possess?
Your hands, what are they reaching for, grasping, taking, doing? What are you using your hands for – to reach out and help others? To operate your computer, seek out pornography, operate your TV remote, grabbing more things for yourself?
Where are your feet taking you – to pray, meditation, to be reconciled with friends, to love others? Or to places that serve only yourself? To the Lord? To God or gaud? To hear the word of God or to hear the latest gossip or to tell a corrupting joke?
What is your tongue doing – praising and thanking God, witnessing to God’s presence in your life, offering a kind and calming word, encouraging someone? or to gossip, tasting more food, speaking poisonously about others, corrupting others with filthy stories and foul language?
And where is your heart? In the Kingdom of God, or loyal only to yourself?