Alana Mayfield sat in St. Benedict Catholic Church feeling physically tired, spiritually conflicted and mentally drained. An hour before she had gotten into a heated argument with her lifelong best friend. As she sat alone attempting to determine how she allowed a discussion to become so bad, tears regret began streaming from her eyes.
“Father, forgive me for arguing with Gail,” she prayed. “Forgive me for calling her an idiot. Forgive me for taking our relationship for granted.” Within minutes of her prayer she came to understand why the argument began in the first place—she had accumulated little nagging personal frustrations all week long. She had wanted to buy the latest cell phone but had to use the money instead to take care of her past due car insurance bill. Alana had received a “D” grade on her high school algebra test. That had never happened before. She was a straight “A” student in every subject. Because of the inclimate weather and not being able to get to work, she had lost money. Unable to forgive herself and guilt began to make her situation worse. “How can I make up with Gail? How can I face God?”
“What’s wrong, Alana?” asked Pastor Don Wolf.
“Father, I’ve ruined everything. I had a fight with my best friend. I called her an idiot and told her I never wanted to talk to her again. I’ve also sinned against God for being so mean to my best friend. I’ve been really difficult to be with around everybody when I think about it.”
Finally, Father Wolf spoke. “Picture this. Take all of the sins you’ve just told me about and the guilt to Jesus’ cross. Imagine them to be like broken, splintered logs of wood. Take each sin then one by one, looking up into the face of Jesus, then tell Him your need for forgiveness and healing. Now get up leaving your burdens behind. May I suggest a prayer I use each day—‘Father, create in me a clean and perfect heart all day long. Amen.”
After the counseling with Father Wolf, Alana felt a sense of having been restored and freed of her heavy burdens. “I must remember what the Lord has just taught me through Father Wolf.”
“Lord,” Alana prayed. “Teach me your ways. Give me a sign that will help me forgive myself, a sinner when I sin against You.”
Hurrying out of the church, Alana went to Gail’s to make up with her. Gail forgave her. Their friendship was restored. On her way home, Alana was reminded of a habit she had learned as an elementary aged student…the renewing power of water. She had learned to drink a glass of water she felt thirsty. “Perhaps as an additional reminder, I should drink at least eight glasses a day. Water cleanses and heals the body. And this will help remind me to pray, forgive myself and forgive others as I would want to be forgiven by God. From this day forward I’ll work hard to make these things I have learned a part of my life. Thank You, Lord, for revealing Your love for me this day.”
Alana learned that water cleanses the body. But more importantly forgiveness and confession of one’s sins cleanses the soul.