If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all iniquity. 1 John 1:9
Last week Sunday in our Lagos Session, we watched ‘Forgiven: The Transforming Power of Confession’, which is a sacramental preparation program by the Augustine Institute which explores the sacrament of reconciliation and shows how the sacrament reveals the depth of God’s love. Read about and watch our discussion below!
Forgiveness is an important hallmark of a Christian. We are Christ like so we are called to forgive just as he did and also seek God’s forgiveness.
We are human and it’s normal for us to enter “cruise control mode”. It’s also normal to experience “wake up calls”, something that leads us to make a change in our lives, to reflect on where we have been and what we have done with our lives. With regards to our spiritual lives, God may, at some point, send a sign or wake up call to bring us back on the right track. The group shared various experiences that they considered as wake up calls as well as the most important thing about being a Christian.
The 30 minute video opened with the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15: 11-32 who left his father’s house in search what he assumed he couldn’t get from his father. He put his happiness and hope in things that had no meaning and he fell – he felt lost and alone. Something prompted the prodigal son (his wake up call?) and he eventually arrives at a place in his heart which leads him to get back up and return to his father’s house.
When we sin, we feel guilty, weighed down, lost and alone, just like the prodigal son. Our conscience tells us that we are wrong in our actions. The guilt helps us take action to make amends. If we had no remorse or guilt, we’ll be super dangerous humans! We need to understand that the sense of regret/remorse/guilt is not a bad thing – its God’s voice calling to us to set things right so why don’t we listen to the voice of conscience more???
So what do we do when we feel the guilt? Sometimes we ignore it. Sometimes we distract ourselves or rationalize/justify it or fail to take responsibility by blaming others or excuse our actions. When we do this, we are not dealing with the problem. We need to address the problem in order to move away from it.
Look at the story of the fall of man. We know that God made all things good and He wished for us to share in His goodness. God gave Himself to Adam & Eve but they turned away from Him. This is essentially what we do when we sin, we turn away from God.
“Sin is about breaking our relationship with God.”
After Adam & Eve sinned, they felt the full weight of the guilt and they hid from God – Genesis 3:8. Adam failed to take responsibility for his actions, instead he blamed Eve for giving him the fruit – sound familiar to something you’ve done? Yeah story of our lives. Adam even blamed God for his own actions!
To show how loving and merciful God is, after Adam & Eve sinned and hid from God, God still searched for them – He asked “where are you?”. God never abandons us – even when we sin! He still seeks us out and wants to envelope us in His mercy. He doesn’t want more from us, He wants more for us. He knows that the weight of human sin is too heavy to carry so he gives us the special gift of His mercy. He forgives even what we think is the most grievous sin.
“The only sin God can’t forgive is the one for which we won’t ask forgiveness for”.
Who is this God that wants to give us mercy so freely? We all describe God with different words but what explains who God is perfectly, is the strength of His love – God is love! His love is shown in His mercy. We are loved in spite of our weaknesses, limitations etc. When we sin, God doesn’t love us any less, WE think He loves us less and we are not worthy of His love.
We are called to reflect on God’s call to us ‘where are you?” and the areas in our lives that we need to surrender to God’s merciful love.
Next Sunday, we’ll be discussing “An Encounter with Mercy”. We hope to see you there! Email us for venue details at firstname.lastname@example.org