About 10 years ago, I was driving my mother-in-law to Laguardia airport. The pace of traffic indicated that there would be no way that I could have her to the airport on time. I picked up my phone to call the airline to see the next available flight. I was on the phone for 3-4 minutes.
Just long enough for the Nassau County police officer to pull me over for having the phone up to my ear while I was driving.
Four weeks later, I appeared at the Nassau County Courthouse, owing a fine of $250.00.
A couple of hours later, my name was called. I was led back to a room to plead my case.
The gentleman asked me my name.
He verified what the ticket was for.
Then, he asked me if I would like to plead guilty to jaywalking.
It reduced the fine to $110.00.
I didn’t make any excuses.
I didn’t justify my actions.
I never had the chance.
I signed the paper.
It’s not the perfect analogy, but, over the years, plea bargaining has shown up way too many times and in way too many ways in my relationship with God.
Not God offering me a plea bargain.
But, in whatever way, me trying to make what I have done wrong, not so wrong.
I have done something wrong and tried to frame it as something less than it was.
I have done something wrong and blamed it on someone else.
I have exploded in anger and blamed it on the thing or the person that made me explode in anger.
I have said hurtful words in the name of “just being honest” that I knew I was using as a weapon.
I have pleaded ignorance when I knew exactly what I was doing.
I have acted as if I knew exactly what I was doing when I was completely ignorant.
It’s always easier to blame somebody else.
The person. The pressure.
But, there has never been an instance when we have pulled one over on God.
We have only lied to ourselves.
And, in lying to myself, it has not produced what I have really wanted in my relationship with God.
For years of my life, too many years of my life, I have focused on one particular aspect of confession and repentance: Forgiveness.
There is no doubt that Forgiveness is such a huge aspect of our relationship with God.
Forgiveness cannot be minimized.
Yet, Forgiveness is not the only result of true confession and repentance.
Jesus came for our forgiveness and for our freedom.
The reason why so many of us have lived in bondage for so long is that we have learned to frame things, we have learned to justify things, we have learned to spin things.
And we have learned to call our sin something less than our sin.
But, the only way that we can experience true freedom is to call our sin what it is.
There is enough grace.
There is enough mercy.
There is enough forgiveness.
So, we can take absolute responsibility for our words, our actions, our thoughts.
And, on the other side of our repentance and confession, there is absolute freedom.
No plea bargains.
We come face to face with the One who has seen what we have done all along.
We come face to face with the One who has always known our hearts and motives.
We come face to face with the One who has always known the truth, even when we have lied to ourselves.
And, as we are face to face with One who has come to rescue us from ourselves, we experience a freedom that we have never known before.
Freedom From Ourselves.
That’s where true confession and repentance lead us.
There’s no need to sugarcoat things.
No spin is necessary.
Leave the excuses behind.
Today, we can experience forgiveness from God.
Today, we can experience freedom from ourselves.
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