Day 26 of Lent, Psalm 32:
Why is it so difficult to believe there is forgiveness available? We naturally tend to think we cannot be forgiven, or we have confessed this wrong one too many times to be forgiven, once again. We may rather choose just not to deal with it, because somehow facing it might involve change– which seems a little too risky. On the other hand, we may take the route of hiding it or covering it up, hoping somehow, someway, the huge weight we carry will just disappear or fade away.
I remember a time when I felt an incredible weight pulling and tugging on me. It felt so much easier to ignore it, though it was like an annoying doorbell that I would choose not to answer. However, the bell kept ringing. Eventually I could choose to answer the door or put up a thicker, stronger, and bigger door in the hopes of keeping the nuisance away. The bell was still there, yet it became fainter but still annoying. More doors and soon walls are put up to fight this badgering noise that won’t go away.
A Ton of books
Psalm 32 relates well in regard to this:
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me.
I have heard numerous times people describe the sin they carry around like a weight that pulls on them. That is what I had experienced. Nothing would take that feeling away and it was more burdensome when I was alone or quiet.
My eight-year-old son has a backpack with books in it that he takes to school, for there is time during the day to pull out a book and read. I noticed gradually His backpack was becoming larger. He began to place more and more books in his backpack, yet he was not taking any out. Then I noticed as I took him to school and we walked from the car, across the street and into the school, that he was walking much more slowly. When I ran to hurry up and try and make the crosswalk before the crossing guard put down her stop sign, my son could barely run. He had added more books, and now he was too loaded down to move his feet more quickly.
Sin weighs us down. As we continue in it or choose not to confess it, we begin to feel it’s heaviness like carrying a ton of books everywhere we go. It doesn’t go away and it doesn’t get lighter.
I heard a story recently of a person who was continually feeling the weight of their sin. They had come to a point in their life in which they were tired of it and they no longer wanted the behavior as apart of their life. They had thought that their hidden sin only affected them, but their eyes were open to the fact that it affected others — the people they loved most. Part of being human is naturally having an impact and influence on one another. We do this, whether we want to recognize it or not. I like to say it is as if each person is a piece in a puzzle. Each piece affects the other pieces, even when the sides do not touch each other. A missing piece changes the whole puzzle and makes it more difficult to finish the puzzle. This person prayed and prayed to God for the sin to be taken away. The weight was still there. Year after year, he prayed.
This Psalm also accurately describes how this person felt:
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.
Our weighing sin is also described in this way:
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.
People who are not use to the Texas heat may feel like it is too hot come even May, and the real heat is not here yet. Eventually the sun will be overhead, and the big clear sky will make the sun feel closer and more intense. “It is different here,” one family member said visiting from Florida. In the heat of the summer, I don’t really want to be outside for long. It can feel unbearable and oppressive. One summer, not too long ago, we had over our share of 100 degree days. The heat, whether I want it or not, drains me and zaps my energy.
Our sin is like a heat wave, but it drains us of life and the freedom we could experience.
Into the Light
We need the right kind of light for the weight we carry. What happens when we add more light to a room? When I am trying to find something and the lights are dim, it becomes easier to see and search when I turn on the light. This person, I mentioned, said they were so exhausted from the weight they carried, they decided to confess it to a trusted family member and friend. It was like shining a light into a big dark whole– all was exposed. But, they described the feeling they experienced was as if a heavy, heavy weight had been removed from their body. They still had to deal with the sin, but it no longer seemed to have the same type of control over them. What was different? They now had someone to walk alongside them. Someone else now was helping to carry the heavy backpack of books. Once in awhile they would notice that there was one less book in the backpack. Slowly they could shelve these books and put away the backpack.
- What keeps you from acknowledging your sin?
- Do you have a weighty backpack?
- Whom can you share it with?
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!
Christ’s body and blood is available to forgive and cover our sins. Allowing others to come alongside us in it, helps reduces the burden and, hopefully helps free us from the annoying weight that we carry.
I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.
God forgives. The weight is lifted.