When my brothers and I were younger, there were times when we rough housed. One time, I broke something valuable, but my mom thought it was my brother who broke it. Without questioning anyone, she whipped him. I felt bad, but at the same time, I didn’t want to get whipped. My guilt began to eat at me. Finally, I confessed because the feeling if guilt was too much. I took an extra whipping for letting my brother take the punishment, but at least my feelings of guilt were gone.
Feeling guilty can be very powerful and affect so many areas of our life. Either we confess and deal with the consequences or it eats us up inside. It can consume our thoughts and affect how we live. I like to watch “The First 48”, which is a reality show that follows the police in the first 48 hour of a murder investigation. When they capture the person, they often tell them, “If you’ll confess, you’ll feel better.” Many of them do confess with tears running down their face. They still have to face their consequences, but there’s a release in that moment.
Becoming a Christian is a lot like that. We confess our sins to God and He releases us from the eternal consequences of our guilt. We usually have to face earthly consequences for our actions, but our eternal guilt is gone. Those feelings of guilt fade away because we’ve been forgiven when we confess. God removed our guilt and says, “Your eternal penalty was paid for by my Son. He paid the price for your actions.”
In Psalm 32:1-2, David wrote, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” (NLT) God values our honesty with Him and through our honest confessions, forgiveness is given. David understood the joy of being released from the guilt of sin. He understood that God values our honesty with Him. He knows we’ve messed up. He knows we’re guilty. He loves us enough that He’s prepaid for our guilt and is waiting for us to admit it. Don’t carry your guilt anymore. Confess it to God and find that joy you’re missing.
I come to you today knowing that you are in control of my life, my country and my world. You are the God who spoke into darkness and created light. You spoke and the world took shape. In fact, the words you spoke back then are still creating today as the universe continues to expand and birth new galaxies. Your word is powerful beyond anything I can imagine. It creates rivers in the desert, life in dry bones and hope in impossible situations. I honor you for who you are and because you take an active interest in my life.
I confess I don’t have everything figured out. I try to create things using my own power and wisdom instead of relying on yours. I constantly make a mess of things and then ask you to come clean it up. I often act as though I’m independent as if I don’t need you. I think I’m helping you out when I don’t see how your plan can come to pass and I try to figure it out on my own. I know that the closer I get to you, the more dependent I should become, but my selfish nature wants to prove to you and others that I can do things on my own. Somehow I lose sight of my role in our relationship.
I thank you that you forgive me when I’m selfish and try to do your job. You are always right on time when you come in and pick up the pieces from the mess I’ve made. I’m in awe when I watch you put them back together again in a fashion that is more complete and greater than I could have ever imagined. Thank you that you don’t get tired of me making a mess so often. Thank you that no matter what I do, you still love me and call me your child. I’m honored that you do and I don’t want to take it lightly. You sacrificed everything to give me that honor and in return, I sacrifice myself daily for you.
I ask that you would help me to become more dependent on you each day. Teach me to trust in you and your plan. I don’t know why things happen the way they do, but I know you are in control. Give me peace when I look at everything around me and I can’t see the way from point A to point B. Help me to stay still when you ask me to. Give me courage to move and step out when there’s no dry land around. Teach me to be patient when I don’t understand why things happen. Remind me that you’ll show up in time like you always do so I won’t worry. I want to do my part and let you do your part.
Give me strength to face today and peace that you have tomorrow under control. Put people in my path who I can speak life into and who can in return encourage me. Help me to build relationships with people who will help me accomplish more for you than I ever dreamed. Stir up the gifts you’ve placed in me so that they are active and are ready to be used by you at a moment’s notice. You are my God and my king. I owe my life to you. Let me live that way today and show others who you are by my actions, by my faith and by my trust in you. I love you with all my heart.
In Jesus’ name I pray,
I have to confess I have a problem. When I look at people, I see them through a lens that places a label on them. When I first see someone, the first thing that comes to my mind is what I think they are. I may think, “Smoker. Muslim. Homosexual. Thug. Diva. Punk.” There are numerous things that can come to mind when I see someone. This morning, I was challenged to see them as Jesus sees them. “Soul”. Each one is a soul that is either lost or found.
By placing my own labels on people, I covered up who they really are. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this, but that doesn’t make it right. As I drove by each car this morning, I looked at the driver and began to look past the label my mind wanted to place on them. I focused on their soul. The moment I did, a compassion for them welled up inside of me.
When we label people, we are really building up walls so we don’t have to get involved. We use them to create excuses why we shouldn’t or couldn’t be Jesus to them. Over time, we end up forgetting why we are here. It is to be salt and light. I often read in Scripture where Jesus is approached by someone or a large crowd gathers around Him and the verse will almost always say, “And He had compassion on them.”
Compassion is what compels us to do something for someone else. Jesus’ ministry wasn’t about taking up a larger offering or getting more people to follow Him. It was about seeing the lost, having compassion on them and then doing something about it. His heart broke for the people He saw. I believe it still breaks today with as many lost people as there are.
Brandon Heath wrote a song a couple of years ago called “Give Me Your Eyes”. In it he says, “Give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see everything that I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity…I’ve been there a million times. A couple of million eyes just moving past me by. I swear I never thought that I was wrong.” They are challenging lyrics that is a prayer all of us should have. We pass people every day who need compassion. Who need Christ.
So what do we do about it? Should we give up because there are so many? Should we sit back and do nothing because we are outnumbered? No! It only takes a little salt to flavor an entire meal. It only takes a little light to make darkness leave. As individuals, we have an ability to affect so many with what little we have. We have to get past the lenses on our eyes that see labels to where we see souls. We have to see them as God sees them. Only then can we have the compassion necessary to do what we were called to do: Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.