I usually defer to others. Not because I don’t consider myself worthy of whatever it is we are deciding or doing but because I often do not really have a preference. When I do have a preference, I share it. But there are absolutely times when I need to be first:
in Confession: While I am not required to confess to others in order to be forgiven it does go a long way in relationships. It is good for me to be first to confess my wrongs. There are plenty of them, of course. But waiting for someone else to confess when I am in a conflict with them isn’t helpful. The longer I wait, the longer I am stewing and justifying my own behavior. Instead of digging my heels in and waiting, I should take the first step.
In Forgiveness: I should never hesitate extending forgiveness. It actually benefits me more than the offender. God knows the heart. And He certainly knows mine after all these years. He knows all I have been forgiven for. And while He casts my sins as far as the East is from the West, it would be good for me to remember just as a point of reference. It is a huge shame to withhold forgiveness. But when I do, the true damage is done to me and my relationship with God.
In Giving: When it comes to sharing, I can start things off: lead by example. Others may not follow along, but it should not dissuade me. Giving often does more for the giver than the receiver and the act of giving grows my heart and my compassion.
Come, Lord Jesus!
As we prepare for Jesus in these days leading up to Christmas, PrayerPoints will be published daily. To learn more about the history of Advent and history behind the advent wreath and candles, CLICK HERE!
Do you know someone who lives “in the dark”?
There seem to be so many more people struggling with anxiety and depression these days. Sometimes it is the person you least expect. The challenges of loving someone who find themselves frequently “in the dark” are heartbreaking. Please pray for not only those who struggle but also their friends and family members.
I don’t have particularly dark days but I know people who do. I can’t imagine living in a shroud of darkness, struggling to find light in a day. I know it is disorienting, intimidating, and overwhelming. If you have been in a dark space, you know what I am saying. Even though I can use my imagination, sometimes I am at a loss at how to assist someone struggling through a dark time. I can always pray, and I do, but there are times something more tangible is needed.
It is true that a dark time can be the result of sin and confession and absolution is an amazing gift to someone struggling in that way. It is amazing how guilt, shame, and unconfessed sin can create darkness in our lives. Healthy Biblical counseling can be a great blessing. But that isn’t the only reason for depression. Depending on the circumstance, a psychiatrist and a psychologist can help. Medicine can be useful. Supportive friends and family, healthy eating, regular sleep patterns, and exercise can all be components that benefit someone stuck “in the dark”.
Pay close attention to those you know who struggle in this way. A little extra time from you, a listening ear, and encouraging words may be a way to help them (or their loved one) navigate through a dark space.
On the Road,
Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 32
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ — and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:5
It is so easy to be so shocked and appalled and caught up in everyone else’s sin yet neglect our own important self-reflection and confession. Confession is so important because it is an acknowledgement of sin in our own lives.
Consider those things in your life you would like to confess because they weigh on you. You can certainly just confess those things to God — I find it helpful if I talk out loud since I am a verbal processor. But if you want some feedback in the way of spoken forgiveness, seek out a healthy pastor or priest for absolution.
Confession so often becomes one of those things we look for in others but, maybe, are not so keen on surrendering ourselves. Sometimes our busy and distracted lifestyle interrupts the time we need to contemplate our sin and confess it as such.
And the peace and healing that comes from confession? Unparalleled. That’s why it is said, “Confession is good for the soul!”