Stop. Breathe in and out. Narrow your focus.

For a few moments, take in only what is in front of you.

Let your ears be open to the whisper of the Spirit.

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Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love! Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion! Wash me completely clean of my guilt; purify me from my sin! Because I know my wrongdoings, my sin is always right in front of me. I’ve sinned against you—you alone. I’ve committed evil in your sight. That’s why you are justified when you render your verdict, completely correct when you issue your judgment.

Psalm 51:1-4

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It is very easy to think poorly of ourselves. Most of us spend a lot of time believing that we are not good enough or smart enough – just not okay. Confession isn’t about that. It’s not about being hard on ourselves. Confession is being realistic about ourselves, about knowing the things that are hard for us to be obedient with.

Is it hard to obey God’s call to help the poor? Is it hard to obey Jesus’ instruction to love our enemies? Is it hard to listen to the Spirit when the rest of the world competes for our attention? Of course!

God sees us just as we are. God is realistic about us, but it doesn’t change God’s love for us. When our sin is right in front of us, we can confess and know that even though God is justified in judging us, God is for us. God wants to wash us clean and make us new.

Ellen Di Giosia

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God, help me to see my sin as it truly is. Help me to not be afraid when I look at myself but to remember that your gift of forgiveness is available. When I feel terrible about what I have done, lead me to the place where I can trust your goodness. Amen.

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Now widen your focus.

Let your eyes be open to the whole wide world.

Remember that God’s call to obey is intended for your good.

Ellen Di Giosia

Ellen Di Giosia is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, Tennessee. She is a parent, a spouse, a knitter, a napper, and a proud ex-resident of the great state of Texas.

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Ken Medema

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