My thoughts (Robert Ferguson):
In his book “New Seeds of Contemplation” Thomas Merton writes:
“We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true or false, the choice is ours. We may wear now one mask and now another, and never, if we so desire, appear with our own true face. But we cannot make these choices with impunity. Causes have effects, and if we lie to ourselves and to others, then we cannot expect to find truth and reality whenever we happen to want them. If we have chosen the way of falsity we must not be surprised that truth eludes us when we finally come to need it!”
As I was reading today’s verse two things stood out to me like shining pieces of glass reflecting sunlight in the middle of the desert. Number one, Psalm 32 is about sin and nobody likes to talk about sin. And secondly, the Psalmist takes time to highlight for us the consequences of holding onto the secret of sin on our fleshly bodies. “My bones wasted away through groaning”. So while I was hesitant to go anywhere near the subject of sin I also saw that there is a certain necessity to the act of confession. While we can see in our reading that once David confessed his sins to the Lord he found forgiveness and peace with God, we also see relief and healing for ourselves. Confession that happens at church or through prayer is generally directed to our higher power, but it is first and foremost a conversation with ourselves.
When we confess what is true to ourselves and come face to face with why we made a particular decision or how we got off track or when we first decided to make a bad decision, we are being honest with ourselves. True confession causes all veils and false illusions to be wiped away. When we actively and intentionally engage in self reflection then and only then can we begin to start on a path towards real change. The truth is that confession is necessary, smart and takes real courage. While not easy, it does unburden both the soul and the mind enabling us to live a forthright, productive, and fuller life. Confession is not only for those who have committed some great public or private “sin.” For most of us, our “little murders” — our duplicities, the daily hurts, neglects, and carelessness we inflict upon others and upon ourselves — need to be confronted and acknowledged.
I believe todays reading tells us that God is pleased with our confession…it is good for the soul. However, using confession to live honestly and consciously is also good for the body and mind. Are you expectant and hopeful for real change in this New Year? Sit down for a long quiet honest talk with God and yourself!
Confession is an attitude. It is a marker of a life that is intentional about repentance and change. God is calling us to not only clear out of the debris, that which is bad or wrong in us, but also to realign what is best in us and intentionally live a better life. When confession becomes daily practice its power continues to grow, instilling a new sense of confidence, a vision of what life truly can be. Confession is about truth, and as Thomas Merton reminds, the result of an attitude of truth can only be good.
Thought for the day: Have you looked inward and confessed to God honestly so that change can happen, and be real?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.