Thursday, December 10, 2009

National Day of Confession, update

I feel that confession is overlooked and under-valued.  We ask God for His blessings, but we rarely confess and repent from our sins.  Confession must precede forgiveness and restoration; between a man and his God and among men.  Confession opens the door to redemption and growth.

As individuals, we hurt the people closest to us, and then pretend that nothing happened.

As families, we take family members for granted, without ever saying "thank you."

As groups of friends, we exclude and hurt outsiders to entertain ourselves.

As businesses, we cover our mistakes unjustly push costs off to our customers and employees.

As churches, we condemn both sin and sinners instead of loving sinners as Jesus did.

As denominations, we argue amongst ourselves without seeing how our arguments embarrass God in front of unbelievers and keep them away from Him.

As the Body of Christ, we ignore the hurts and pains of sinners as if they deserve their fates but we deserve better.

As a nation, we push our own agenda with lawyers, guns, and bribes; rarely acting for the betterment of anyone but ourselves.

And we wonder why God simply allows the natural consequences of our sins and doesn't takes supernatural action to bless us in this life.  How different would our lives be if we learned to confess our sins to one another and genuinely sought forgiveness from the people we have wronged?

Desmond Tutu and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa vividly taught us how powerful forgiveness is in cleansing victims' hearts.  But we ignore the miracle of the bloodbath that didn't take place, and we fail to appropriate the wonderful lessons they taught us.

Abraham Lincoln declared a National Day of Fasting, Confession, and Prayer on April 30, 1863.  This is how he described it in his official proclamation:
"It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."
Lincoln was hoping that the Creator of the Universe would interrupt the horrible Civil War with peace and blessings:
"All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace."
The struggles we face today are less bloody than the Civil War, but the diversity and depth of our problems signals that we are deeply out of touch with our Creator.

  • War in Iraq
  • War in Afghanistan
  • War against drugs
  • More than 15 million unemployed people in the US
  • Between 800 million and 1 billion people are hungry right now
  • Thousands of traders have gained fabulous wealth while millions of people lost much of their life savings
  • 30 million to 40 million people are sick with AIDS
  • Nearly 3% of the US population is either in jail, probation, or parole
  • Half of all marriages in the US end in divorce
  • About 30% of children in the US live in single-parent homes
  • 40 million people in the US lack healthcare
  • About 1 million people commit suicide every year, worldwide

So, I'm launching a campaign to begin holding an annual National Day of Confession.  I'm targeting April 30, 2010 for the first NDoC.  I'll be working on a website and marketing campaign soon.

My idea is to encourage people to confess their wrongs to the people whom they have hurt, and to commit to improve their behavior in the future.  Believers should confess to their God and beg for His forgiveness.  But I want to focus on confessing and apologizing to other people.

I do not believe it was for no reason that Jesus taught us to leave our offering and seek forgiveness from our brother before seeking forgiveness from our God.  He taught us to confess our sins to one another, and to forgive one another.

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