I walked my little girl into school this morning to make a confession. She had lied to her teacher, telling her that she had finished the assigned reading book when she hadn’t. And yesterday, when she had walked through the backdoor and set her backpack down, she was seized by immediate sobbing. Terrified by the wrong she had committed, she shuddered to admit, “It’s one of the Ten Commandments.” She told me how it was almost becoming her habit to lie and sneak, and I think that’s what frightened her worst of all: not simply that she had lied but that she felt she was becoming a liar. I got to preach the gospel to my little girl yesterday, got to speak to her the very truths I had praying earlier in the morning that she would find herself more deeply rooted in. Jesus died, not just for sins but sinners, and the good news of that rescue comes best of all to those of us who freely admit that the wrongs we commit are less like exceptions and more like rules, less like one-night stands and more like long-term adulteries. I know the patterns of sin I call my own (anger, impatience, hurry, overwork) tell more than the simple fact that I do bad things. They reveal who I am – recalcitrant, stubborn, refusing to do life God’s way.
And so I tell her all of this:
that we all lie (“Remember when Mommy lied to the doctor about finishing the antibiotics and she didn’t? Remember when she had to call her back and admit she lied?”);
that we are all guilty and can come to Jesus freely admitting this;
that confession is always the way to make things right;
that feeling sorry you’ve done something wrong is a great gift.
I walked my little gift into school this morning to make a confession, and she did so bravely. Beforehand, as we had talked about what she would say, I told her that she need only say what we’ve learned to say in our family. Admit what you did, say that you’re sorry, and ask for forgiveness. Confession is courageous, but it’s not all that complicated.
“Yesterday,” she began, looking at her teacher, “when I told you I’d finished my book, I was really just wanting a new book because I wasn’t interested in the one I had.”
“Oh, sure, that’s OK,” her teacher instantly reassured her. “I always say that if you don’t like a book and you’ve given it a fair try, you can always choose another one.”
“But what I mean is that I lied to you because I didn’t actually ever finish the book.” She has the need to make her guilt infinitely clear. “Will you please forgive me?”
The teacher’s eyes are as red as mine.
“Well of course I do. Thank you very much for telling me. That took quite some courage, didn’t it, to come and tell me that? But I really appreciate it.”
Tell someone today how you’ve screwed it up big time. Best of all, make a confession to God.
(Special thanks to my friend and awesome photographer, Joe Dudeck, for allowing me to use his picture on this post today! Check out his website today: https://joetography.us/)