Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Good Old Fashioned Biblical Confession and Forgiveness

1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to purify us of all unrighteousness.

James 5:16 - Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Matthew 6:14-15 - For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

We had an incident at our school last week. A 10th grade kid, who is a little bit different and who struggles academically and socially, lost his temper. There was yelling, cursing, and fighting. He attacked a girl - trying to choke her. He would not submit to his teacher (who is an ex-marine) and tried to attack him. He was finally arrested by the police and escorted away from the premises. He has been dismissed from the school.

Today, in chapel, he came and gave a sincere heart felt apology. He humbly asked forgiveness from everyone. He has repented. A crowd of kids huddled around him to pray for him for a few minutes. Afterwards, he left.

Then, the director of the board challenged the kids about being sensitive and discerning when they tease each other. He encouraged them to be encouraging and supportive. He encouraged the kids to repent if they have been teasing or mean to other people. All over the chapel, kids were asking each other for forgiveness. I had a student ask me for forgiveness.

And then, we worshipped. As we worshipped, my heart just welled up with joy. There is nothing like God's people humbly confessing sins, asking forgiveness, and granting forgiveness toward each other. The body of Christ is beautiful. Restoration, redemption, reconciliation. We experienced it this morning. It is wonderful.

I am so thankful that our God is a forgiving God - that He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and quick to love. I am so thankful for the example Jesus set for us - washing his disciples feet and dying on the cross so that we can be forgiven.


Blogger MarcoConley said...

the whole story deeply disturbs me...

I feel very sorry for the boy.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I too am very concerned about this kid. I hope and pray that this will prove to be a real turning point in his life. If he doesn't get his act together, I don't see how he is going to make it in the world.

These are kind of people that Jesus loved. Lost, ignorant, sinful, depraved, disturbed people.

I have hope for this kid. With a lot of patience and love, instruction and accountability, guidance and prayer, I believe this kid will grow into a fine young man. In many ways, I have already seen these kinds of qualities in him.

I pray that his parents would have great wisdom to love him and to discipline him.

Many thousands of teenagers are extremely insecure. When insecure kids get caught in the wrong crowd, they do destructive and dangerous things.

But there are - here and there - some real sincere Christian teenagers who reach out to kids like these. We need a lot more of that. Teachers ought to encourage Christian virtues like kindness, faithfulness, prayer, love, faith, and hope. Teachers ought to affirm kids - that they have been created in the image of God.

I went to public high school. I was an outcast. I was very insecure. In the first couple years of high school, I was desperate for acceptance. Not one fellow student reached out to me, but plenty of kids picked on me. I guess my insecurity was obvious, and like wolves, they pounced on me - cutting me down, being mean.

And then, in the summer between my sophomore and junior year, I got saved. But I didn't go public with my faith until Christmastime of my junior year. Once I quit caring about what people thought of me, I became respected by the people who had previously picked on me.

But the point is that if teenagers would reach out to one another in sincere love, that would make a huge impact on millions of kids. As it is, millions of teenagers are afraid to reach out to one another in love, because to do so is to commit social suicide.

It is neat to teach in a place where a large percentage of the kids are sincerely committed to Jesus Christ. They encourage one another and challenge one another.

Bottom line, we have been created with a God-shaped hole in us and we will not be satisfied hole is filled. And that includes being in fellowship with God's people - loving one another - being loved - forgiving one another and being forgiven. That's the family of God.

3:01 PM  

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