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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Our Confession of Sin Reveals Our Ideals

Saturday January 29, 2022

Third Week of Ordinary Time

by Fr. David M. Knight

In 2Samuel 12: 1-17 makes one thing clear to us; we don’t know anyone else’s deepest heart, and often not our own.

When Nathan confronted David with his sin, what David revealed was that he despised what he had done. He wasn’t aware he was speaking of himself when he said, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die… because he had no pity.” But when Nathan made him aware, he said, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

With those words David discovered his own heart.

It is hard to sin with full consciousness of what we are doing. We block out a lot. Afterwards, if we feel guilt and remorse, we are usually blocking out something else: we are judging ourselves by our actions without asking how authentically those actions reveal our heart, our true selves.

If something brings us to confess our sin, we discover in that act how good we actually are! Every priest who hears confessions realizes, after a while, that he is not really hearing sins; he is hearing ideals.

The sins are real. But it is impossible for someone to confess a sin as a sin unless something inside that person is better than what the action expresses. We cannot look down on anything unless something in us has risen above it. When David said, “I have sinned against the LORD,” he realized that his heart condemned what he had done. In his deepest self, in the person that he truly was, he did not embrace adultery, rape and murder. Like St. Paul later, he could say, “I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” Nevertheless, “In my inmost self I delight in the law of God.”[1]

But if he had not said first, “I have sinned against the LORD,” he would not have been able to say with the confirming experience of its discovery: “I delight in the law of God.”

Every confession of sin is a profession and discovery of faith. When we pray, “Create a clean heart in me, O Lord, we realize God already has.

In Mark 4:35-41 Jesus’ disciples were aware that he was in the boat with them, but they were not keeping themselves aware of who and what he really was.

First, they assumed Jesus was not aware of what was going on. And in his human nature he may not have been. But he could sleep though a storm because he was always aware he was in the Father’s hands. They weren’t.

Second, they had ceased to be aware of his love for them. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” If we are truly aware of God’s love and care for us, what can drive away our peace?

When Jesus calmed the sea, they asked one another, “Who then is this?” The answer to that is what we need to recall.

Initiative: How do you habitually think of Jesus? What are you leaving out?

[1] Romans 7:22.

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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