My hands shook as I picked up my pen to write. I tried to organize my thoughts which were a jumbled mess. It was the lowest point in my life. Failure was written all over me--in the slump of my shoulders and the way I dragged myself about as I fought depression and tried to go about the daily grind.
My marriage was over (it had never been a good marriage to start with) and my children were expressing their anger in various ways. My oldest had distanced himself from me, his younger brother had been caught in an act of theft and vandalism, and my beautiful little girl, my four-year-old, was hyperactive.
Tears formed once more in my swollen eyes and splashed upon the blank sheet of paper before me. I brushed them away and began to write:
You know me well. You were there for me when I almost died in childbirth, when my husband confessed his adultery and all throughout that terrible auto accident when I didnít know whether I would live or die. You sustained me and lengthened my life, even though I was unworthy to live.
At an early age I confessed my faith in Jesus, your son, but when I confessed my sins in church, I wasnít really sure that I had any. You see, I always thought I was a good person. I was faithful to my husband even when he wasnít faithful to me. There was no outward sin of any kind. But in my heart I was harboring hatred, intense hatred for the man who had hurt me so much. I donít know whether I can ever forgive him so you must help me forgive or I will lose the gift of life that you have promised to the faithful.
Oh, Lord, search my heart and help me to discover all the ways in which I have sinned and am in danger of losing my salvation. I have shed my pride and that, perhaps, was the greatest of my sins. I havenít always been truthful either, nor respected my parents, nor kept the Sabbath Day as holy. I havenít tithed and received the blessing that comes from tithing. I have been angry and uttered words I wished that I could retrieve. Oh, yes, I see it all now. I am no better than the rest of humanity.
And so I confess my sins to you this day. Help me to be a better parent and a better person and then I will be worthy of your gift of life. Forgive me, Father, and I will serve you with my whole being. Let me be your servant, Lord. Please use me wherever you will, Oh Lord, that my children may receive a blessing even if I do not."
I folded the paper and put it away with all my important documents, and Iíve read it from time to time whenever pride threatened to get the best of me. My children are grown now and life is much better than when I wrote that letter to God. But I find that I must pray daily, even as Jesus did, ďkeep me from temptation, and deliver me from evilĒ.
As Iíve grown in understanding over the years, I see more clearly the sins of humanity and the ways in which Americans have fallen away from God. Many Americans, even Christians, have lost their ability to be shocked by acts of crime and immorality. They flock to the theaters to watch unspeakable acts of violence upon the screen. I am sickened by it all and pray that God would open the eyes of the blind.
Consider this: ďIf we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.Ē
(I John 1:8-10 NIV)
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