Category Archives: Repentance

I Have To Make A Confession

A Syllabus
Nearly two years ago, a social-media acquaintance of mine asked me to explain the Sacrament of Confession. I thought long and hard about what to say, and how to phrase it so that it would make sense to Protestant ears. Eventually, I decided on a logical path I could take that would explain the reason that Catholic theology requires the Sacrament of Confession.

This was the introduction to part 1:

As I began to formulate this answer, I realized that it would not be short or simple. Imagine going to a box of Christmas lights and attempting to retrieve only one. Most often, you end up with all the wires in the box coming out as one big ball. In order to retrieve just the one, you have to sit there and focus on the winding path of the one you want, paying attention to all the places where it intersects with the others. The doctrine of the sacrament of Confession is not all that difficult. I could answer it in a few short scriptures and be done with it. But, those scriptures a Catholic uses to support confession are not interpreted the same way by Protestants. And so in order to give an answer for why Catholics confess our sins to a priest, we must first address the nature of sin, the nature of sacrament, and the validity of the priesthood, and all of these concepts hinge on the way Catholics view Scripture.

I practically put together a syllabus for a semester-long lecture series. Ultimately, I became too daunted by the amount of material I couldn’t articulate, and I gave up.

Tonight, As I stood in line for confession, I realized that I had tried to give a lecture instead of an answer. So tonight, let me attempt to give the answer that I should have given two years ago. Continue reading

Jesus Vs. Religion: Aggregate Me!

Recently, the internet has blown up with this video: In his poem his accurately identifies the dangers of religious practice without the life-changing relationship to support it. However, in this poem, he attributes that evil to the generic term “Religion” creating quite a stir.

After the jump you’ll find the original video and several rebuttals from different denominational perspectives.

Jeff Bethke, Poet, acknowledges the criticism, and agrees with it. Humbly accepts correction.

Continue reading

Finding Freedom: Part IV – The True Mirror

“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”
—Matthew 5:23-24

Talking about forgiveness is uncomfortable when we are addressing those who have wounded us. How much more so when we look to those occasions in which it is we who were the offenders. It is the plank in our own eye, keeping us from accurately dealing with the speck in our offender’s. (Matthew 7:3)

When looking at ourselves and our own shortfalls, it is important to make sure our mirror is accurate. There are so many fun-house mirrors that will keep us from dealing accurately with our own sins. Some mirrors inflate our own righteousness, and
some inflate our guilt. In either circumstance, forgiveness and freedom will be kept at bay.

In some mirrors we cannot see our faults. We have justified our every action and demonized the actions of those around us. In this mirror we look like a victim to the whims of everyone around us, and we hold bitterness against our perceived offenders. While it is true that there are times when we are truly blameless, it does not hurt for us to reexamine the offense from another perspective. One way to do this, is to ask the questions, “How could I have handled this situation better?” and “Could any of my actions or responses be interpreted by another as an offense?”

In other mirrors, all we see is our own guilt. We feel as though any attempt to seek forgiveness will be mocked by those we hurt. We believe that no amount of humility will soften those we hurt, and no repentance will cause them to forgive us. This kind of guilt draws us into a despair where it becomes difficult to even forgive ourselves.

There is a true mirror though. One that will show us accurately our responsibility without crushing us with shame. David shows us the mirror in a prayer that he prayed in Psalm 139:23-24. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Homework this week: With paper and pen ready, pray the above prayer, and then listen.

Write down the things that God reveals to you. Do not argue with your thoughts, or justify your actions. If God brought it to your mind, it is best to deal with it honestly. Remember that God brings these to mind for your freedom and forgiveness, and not to condemn you.

Once written, pray over the list, and ask God how he would like for you to proceed. Perhaps a letter, perhaps face to face, perhaps, just to forgive yourself and let go of the past.

Lastly, rejoice! God is bringing you into freedom!