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Owning up is never easy

I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin. Psalm 38.18

A vital turning point in the Penitential Psalm 18 is when the psalmist admits their fault. That is when forgiveness, healing and restoration can begin. Forgiveness ultimately belongs to God because it is his creation that we damage when we sin - whether that is against ourselves, a fellow creature or the environment. Healing comes as we are prompted and empowered to address the damage done, with a view to repairing it. Restoration is the fruit of that reconciling work.

Because of today's culture of blame and denial, people often never get started. Such is the hypocrisy of society that our instinct, when we go wrong, is not to confess but to deny or, if caught red-handed, blame someone else. Thus the downward spiral of shame and resentment and re-offending is perpetuated. We need a way to break out of the cycle.

This Psalm hints at an answer. The first thing that must happen is to remember that God puts everything into its correct perspective. Before God, we stand naked because he sees everything, including our thoughts and feelings. Yet God also wants for us what God intends for the whole of creation: that we should flourish! What is more God equips us for flourishing and that includes the capacity to recover when we go astray.



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