Sunday, March 13, 2011

Psalm 32


This poem is an illustration of the burden of sin that is not confessed.

My wife Jo told me this story from her childhood the other day that perfectly captures the sense of pain that un-confessed guilt brings. I asked her if I could share this…

When Jo was a young child she had a love of chocolate (and still does). One day she decided she needed a sweet treat and stealthily snuck to the pantry to discover only a packet of chocolate chippies for baking. “This will do,” she thought as she snuck the packet into her lunchbox for school.

At lunchtime that day Jo proudly displayed the packet of chocolate chips that she had been ‘given’ by her Mum for lunch. The other children were in awe as Jo exclaimed “My mum always gives me this kind of thing for lunch.” To Jo’s credit she did share her treat with her friends.

But when Jo got home a conversation happened she could never of predicted. Her mum suggested that maybe they could spend some time together and bake some delicious chocolate chip muffins. “Of all days, why today!” Jo thought to herself. Precisely in that moment a sinking feeling swept over her small being. Guilt invaded her consciousness like an unwelcome visitor. What could she do? If she didn’t say anything surely she would get away with it. Her mum started gathering the ingredients. But the chocolate chips were nowhere to be seen.

“I am sure I bought chocolate chips!” exclaimed Jo’s mother with a hint of suspicion. “Hmmm that’s strange”. Jo bit her lip. There was no evidence, she would never be found out but this strange indescribable feeling was welling up inside and it hurt so bad. “Ummm, It was me, I took them” Jo feebly muttered.

This story is perhaps a story we can all identify with one way or another. Tom Wright reflects on Psalm 32 and its significance for Lent and he says this:

“Lent is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault-finding or finger-pointing but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out ready for all the good things he now has in store.”

(Excerpt from Tom Wright, Lent For Everyone: Matthew, Year A. London: SPCK, 2011, 13)

So may we confess our sin before God. He desires to transform us, to make us new.

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