by Roxanne Smith

I don’t like to admit that I have a problem with sin. I like to think that I’m a pretty good person.

After all, I give to charity, I don’t cheat on my income taxes, and I even return my grocery cart to the right place in the parking lot! (Most of the time.)

I drive the speed limit (OK, some of the time.)

I’m kind to my husband (unless I’ve had a bad day or unless he’s done something irritating.)

I always think the best of others (except when they’re being idiots! Or I’m feeling slighted! Or I’m jealous of someone!)

I am a good sport about waiting my turn (as long as no one is being incompetent!)

Oops. (Pause for embarrassed silence.)

Call it what you want – fallibility, just being human, no one’s perfect – but the Bible calls it sin. That makes me squirm.

I’m afraid, deep down, that if God defines my behavior as sinful, He is going to be mad at me. I’m going to be in trouble.

And it’s true. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It also says that we cannot save ourselves from sin.

But dealing with sin and repentance sounds so dark! It makes me feel afraid! Afraid of punishment. It takes me back to thoughts of childhood when my parents disciplined me for breaking one of their rules.

I would just rather dwell on happy thoughts! Why should I think about the ways that I blow it, the times that I’m unkind, the thoughts I have that are uncharitable? Why is that such an important part of worship on Sundays?

Why is confession such an important part of worship on Sundays?

Pastor Rossow taught us that the Greek word for repentance means metamorphosis. It means to change. In my better moments, I would like to change. I’d like to be more patient, more caring, more content.

Confession and repentance give me a way. When I confess my sins, God is eager to forgive. He wipes my life clean again. He gives me a fresh start. And when I’m freed from guilt, change seems possible.

So I welcome it. The weekly reminder that I can be set free. Admitting my sin has the paradoxical effect of weakening its hold on me. And I am grateful.