Monday, September 17, 2012

Confessing our sins and being made clean by Christ (1 John 1:9) with a Beverly Sills story.

SCRIPTURE: 1 John 1:9 (TM)
On the other hand, if we admit our sins - make a clean breast of them - he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.

STORY as told by Phyllis Battelle:
Being general director of the New York opera took a toll on Beverly Sills; she ballooned into obesity. "It made me sick to look at myself. I'd reached the point where I didn't want to have my clothes made anymore. It was too embarrassing. So I ordered everything from catalogues." Eventually Sills was forced to face the problem. "I woke up one day and realized I was really ill." She went to see a specialist. "He put me on the scales. They read 215 pounds. 'I cannot possibly weigh that much!' I gasped. And the doctor said, 'Please look down. Are those two fat feet on the scale yours or mine?'" Beverly smiled. "Once I accepted the problem, I was on my way."  
There is so much for which we should confess. Confession is admitting that there is a problem. Confession is facing the truth. Confession is embracing reality. But it is more than just acknowledging the truth about ourselves … it is deciding to do something about the problem or situation.

It is one thing to admit to our sins, but it is another thing completely to believe that Jesus can do something about them. Forgiveness is nice, but purging our spirit of their presence is most important. Why carry around a burden that Christ will do something about?

Maybe the shared story today is a bad choice since so many of us deal with a weight issue, but it does go directly to our handling of the more “secret” sins of the soul. A weight problem can be seen by everyone. It is something from we cannot hide. Getting on the scale only confirms what we already know.

Maybe that is why our Catholic brothers and sisters moved away from the Confessional Booth to the Act of Reconciliation. Not a bad decision. The booth gave a person the feeling that it was just between God and us. In the Act of Reconciliation the individual sits in a room in the presence of a priest – eye to eye – and shares the sin. It is like getting on the scale or attending a weight reduction meeting. It is hard to hide once the truth is out.

And so we confess, not seeking to whitewash our reality, but to make ourselves available to what God through Christ is able and willing to do with us. And then we have to truth God to do what he said he would so. Or, as Ms. Sills shared, “Once I accepted the problem, I was on my way.”

Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow!

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