At bedtime tonight:
“Mommy, I lied three times today.”
“Why do you think you did that sweetie?”
“I don’t know.”
“Mommy, do you think I should talk to God and ask him to forgive me?”
“Yea buddy, I think you should.”
At the end of his prayer, I got the awesome privilege of reminding him again that God is just and forgiving and full of unending love.
I’m a perfectionist by nature, so admitting when I make a mistake when I sin can be really, really hard. Over the last year, it’s something God and I have been working on together. It’s hard to confess and say, yea, I messed up that one, I’m sorry. But giving myself permission to confess, to ask forgiveness from another, from myself, from God gives me a release from the guilt and shame that pervaded my heart before. When we accept forgiveness, really open our hearts and receive, then we can move on in life and not be chained down by the inner critic that berates us.
My religious background is not of the Catholic background so I might be butchering this one but sometimes I think they have this whole confession thing right. Having the freedom to go to another human being and say I screwed up without any judgment and then to be reminded by them that God loves me before I screwed up, while I was screwing up and after I screwed up must be a balm to your soul. The more I put into practice first forgiving myself and then receiving it from another I let go of the guilt and make room for the love. And that love, well it only multiples from there.
At this next step in my journey with God I am learning more and more about his love, a love that was always there but I was unable to see and experience. A love that remembers that I am dust, that I am created in love and that I will always be loved beyond measure, not because of what I do (or didn’t do), but because of whose I am. By learning that there is freedom in confession I am opening my life to new possibilities and to grow into the kind of person that can more fully love God and love my neighbor as myself. When I’m not harping on myself over all the mistakes I make, I’m less critical of others mistakes, quick to forgive myself and quick to forgive them. Perhaps this is one way that helps us to have the eyes of compassion that Jesus was always so quick to bestow.
May we be quicker to say I sinned.
Thank you for your love.