Category Archives: forgiveness

Why this image had a viral sneeze

This week I put this image out through my Social Media channels

 I have been increasing my use of images to get my message across. I like working with images, they can convey so many different ideas all at once.

One of my highlights this year was guest posting on Jeff Goins blog with an article titled ‘How to Wow Your Audience with the Right Image’

The image above had a viral internet sneeze and had 10 retweets, 7 twitter favourites, comments and plus’ on Google plus, and a bunch of likes on Facebook.

Putting aside the powerful attention grabbing picture, I think its the words that really resonated and connected with people.

We have all been there.

Taking on responsibility for some thing that was outside of our control. Worse still is when others blame us for something outside of our control.

‘It’s all your fault’ is an echoed burden too many of us carry.

Perhaps its time to revisit some of our stories. The places and times in our memory bank where our beliefs about life were formed.

  • It was never your fault that you were sexually abused as a child.
  • It was never your fault you were shamed by an over bearing bully.
  • It was never your fault that your parents marriage broke up.

Please, this new day, give yourself the beautiful gift of truth. Only take responsibility for that which is in your control. Other peoples problems are truly other peoples problems.

Questions to Consider and leave a comment

  1. Why do we take on others problems, making them our own?
  2. Shifting responsibility for one’s personal problems is text book avoidance. What is the end result however for the avoider when this is done?

Barry Pearman

Photo Credit: .kleine via Compfight cc

With No Dark Corners – an Invitation to Holiness

 

 

Confession – One of my favorite shows is Ice road Truckers.

In a recent show there were mouse droppings scattered all over the floor of the Kenworth truck of Ice Road Trucker Rick. He was unwell and had potentially Hanta Virus.

The truck was quarantined and one serious looking cleanup crew went to work stripping the truck and cleaning every little corner. Every dark corner.

If Rick had kept his truck clean he wouldn’t have a problem. Now both truck and driver were crippled.

Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.

Come, my Life, and revive me from death.

Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.

Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,

kindling my heart with the flame of thy love.

Dimitrii of Rostov

All those little corners where the mice could live and breed.

All unknown to Rick, blithely breathing in illness.

Have you investigated your dark corners?

Probably not. Who wants to dig around in the dark. Who likes cleaning in the internal workings of the soul.

Yet we all have dark corners, things we choose not to want to look at.   Jesus, the surgeon of the Soul says this

“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” Luke 11:34-36

Jesus calls us to a examination. An invitation to holiness.

We don’t hear much about holiness, a call to being virtuous.

Renovaré is an organization that was founded by Richard Foster who defined 6 streams of Christian Spirituality.

  1. Prayer Filled Life
  2. Virtuous Life
  3. Spirit-empowered Life
  4. Compassionate Life
  5. Word-centered Life
  6. Sacramental Life

The Virtuous Life is described in this way

The Holiness Tradition emphasizes the re-formation of our hearts so that we are able to respond appropriately to the challenges of life. The word “holiness” has some negative connotations today, but the original Greek meaning of the word virtue is simply “to function well.”

Virtuous Life is not about rules or judgement, perfectionism, or some kind of merit gained by good deeds. It encourages us to the ultimate goal: not to “get us into heaven, but to get heaven into us.”

It is attentiveness to the source of our actions, to the condition and motives of the heart, and taking on new patterns of life that flow naturally from within.

“We see Jesus consistently doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. We see in him such deeply ingrained “holy habits” that he is always “response-able,” always able to respond appropriately. This is purity of heart. This is the virtuous life.”  Richard J. Foster, Streams of Living Water

I wonder what is hiding in the truck cab of your life. Filth that the Holy Spirit wants to purify and clean out of you for both your sake and the sake of your relationships.

Where do we start?

1. Understand this is not a journey of condemnation
This is a journey of hope and change. This is a journey where the Good Shepherd takes care of his sheep with gentleness and not condemnation. So often we may have been fed messages of try harder and you’re not good enough.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30

2. Embrace that this is a lifetime journey. True deep change doesn’t happen over night. Sanctification happens slowly and is deliberately led by the Holy Spirit. Yes the patient Holy Spirit is at work in you to change you. Gently coaxing and inviting, alluring you to purity.

3. Find someone safe you can journey with. This maybe the most difficult part of the journey. Someone who will not condemn or offer quick advice. Someone who will instead invite you to life of prayer. Perhaps a Spiritual Director, a Pastor or a friend. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you.

Some quotes to consider

  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin L King Jr
  • The men and women who are truly filled with light are those who have gazed deeply into the darkness of their own imperfect existence. Brennan Manning
  • So long as we imagine that it is we who have to look for God, we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about; He is looking for us. And so we can afford to recognize that very often we are not looking for God; far from it, we are in full flight from him, in high rebellion against him. And He knows that and has taken it into account. He has followed us into our own darkness; there where we thought finally to escape him, we run straight into his arms. So we do not have to erect a false piety for ourselves, to give us the hope of salvation. Our hope is in his determination to save us, and he will not give in. Simon Tugwell

Questions to consider and leave a comment

  1. What feelings rise up when you consider looking into the ‘Dark Corners’ of your life?
  2. What is like to know that God ‘is looking for us’?
  3. What are the qualities of a ‘safe’ person for you?

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: i k o via Compfight cc

I don’t like Monday’s but kinda do. Forgiveness

4859769199_d5562df5c7_o1 I don't like Monday's but kinda do. Forgiveness

 

I don’t like Mondays. Its rubbish day.

It can be a beautiful, sunny, and a ‘full of pleasantry’ kind of day but its still ‘Rubbish Day’.

Sure enough every Monday a large truck will come along our road, stop outside our home and collect the bright orange bags full of rubbish.

Earlier I will have weaved my way through the house emptying small rubbish bins into the orange bags. I would have gone into the garage to discover that our cat has scratched a hole in the side of a bag to get at those smelly chicken bones. Hmm.

Its not the greatest way to start the week but its one of those tasks I have to do.

If I don’t, well just imagine the mess that would pile up, the smell, the flies, and the potential for disease.

Forgiveness is a choice. You choose not to be held hostage in the present to the injustices that occurred in the past. Shirley Glass

I have been in homes where you have to wade through the piles of accumulation. I have also been in homes where there is not even a speck of dust anywhere, the owner is OTT (over the top) on perfectionism and you worry about leaving fingerprints.

Whats this post about? Where am I going?

I’m talking about forgiveness.

 

A few years back, in a sermon series, I used the metaphor of rubbish bags that we carry around with us. Bags of resentment, anger and chicken wings that we need to get rid of and let go. Bags full of relational pain about ourselves, others and maybe even towards God.

Holding on to that rubbish, it slowly becomes precious (enter Gollum) ) to us, unknowingly changing our personality and robbing us of life.

Hoarding resentments just so we might be able to draw upon them in the future if needed.

Mondays remind me of the need to let things go, to forgive and not hold on to resentment.

But how do we forgive?

 

Perhaps using a metaphor story such as the cleaning of the house, the taking out of the rubbish could be a start, a trigger to your mind to think about the ‘How’ of forgiveness.

More to come.

Leave some comments below. I would love to hear from you as to how the use of this metaphor might have helped you.

Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  1. What happens in you when you think about forgiveness?
  2. Now does unforgiveness alter your personality?
  3. Which rubbish bag is the fullest for you? Anger against yourself, others, God?

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: Matti Mattila via Compfight cc

Digging For Dirt Is Not Good For Your Mental Health. 4 Keys To Help You

If you’re digging for dirt then you’re going to miss the Gold
 
I was watching one of the many T.V. cop shows the other night and they were ‘digging for dirt’. The detectives were scouring over the history of a suspect looking for any dirt they might have. Old evidence, convictions, witness statements all being examined for clues that they could arrest, convict and punish.
 
What about yourself and the relationships you are in? What the relationship you have with yourself?
 

Do you dig for dirt?

 
Do trawl over your life and others examining for any trace of dirt. Knowing that you can then arrest, convict and punish.
 
Having good Mental health is not keeping a list of wrongs about yourself and others.
 
There was a “troubled couple who visited a Christian counselor for help. The wife’s physician had advised her to see a counselor because she was developing an ulcer that apparently had no physical cause.
 
During the session, the wife slammed down on the counselors desk a manuscript ‘one-inch thick, on 8½ by 11 paper, typewritten on both sides…a thirteen-year record of wrongs that her husband had done to her.
 
The counselor could immediately see that the wife’s resentment of her husband’s many faults and her meticulous documentation of each one had made her bitter.
 
Keeping a record of her husband’s sins had only made matters worse, to the point of causing this woman to become physically ill.” [Quoted in Alexander Strauch’s Leading with Love, pg. 72]
 
That is an extreme case of not just a ‘digging for dirt’, but of storing it up for continued consumption.
 
We may not keep a written list, but do we keep a mental list? ‘She did this, he did that, I did this or that’ just sitting there, in the thought blender, chugging round and round.
 
Paul in writing about love tells us this.
 
Love … keeps no record of wrongs 1 Corinthians 13:5
 
But I want to keep a record of wrongs. I want to prove my case is watertight. If I don’t have the evidence then they might just get off without any consequence.
You see my life is all about me and the hurt done to me. They owe me and I have the evidence. I need to be control of my world, I alone can keep myself safe.
 
The great distinctive of the love of God is that there are no strings [or records] attached to it. God simply loves humans. God created us for a love relationship with the Divine Self, and nothing that we can do—or not do—changes the love God bears us. God loves sinners, redeems failures, delights in second chances and fresh starts, and never tires of pursuing lost sheep, waiting for prodigal children, or rescuing those damaged by life and left on the sides of its paths. Dr David Benner
 

4 Keys to Ripping up a ‘Record Book’ Mentality.

  1. Ask yourself why ‘record keeping’ is important for you.

What is driving you to keep account? What fruit does it give you? Unless you know what this behaviour offers you in return then you are bound to repeat it. Trace, face and displace those motivations with Gods truth about you. 
  1. Look for gold and diamonds.

If you’re constantly looking for dirt then guess what you’re going to find – DIRT!
 
Start right now by looking for gold or diamonds. Look for the positive!
 
Paul tells us
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Philippians 4:8
 
I wonder what the wife who had the stomach ulcer would have been like if instead of keeping a list of wrongs she wrote a list of rights.
 
Optimism is a learned skill. I need to encourage myself and tell myself the truth
 
What I focus on gets me. Focus on the negatives/ challenges will always take me down. Focus on the positive/ good things will always give me hope
 
  1. Be thankful.

Be thankful for all the gold and diamonds in your life. Turn your gold and diamonds into praise and thanks to God. Make it a habit.
 
  1. Pray and ask God for an increased supernatural ability to forgive.

We are made in the image of God who has the ability to choose to forgive. That being the case then we can be of the same mindset. Pray, ask God to transform your mind, to change the mental neuron mapping of your brain that habitually goes down that ‘record keeping’ pathway. Together with God you can change the way you think, neuron by neuron.

 

A few final thoughts

Grace is totally alien to human psychology. We want to get our house in order and then let God love and accept us. Dr David Benner
 
Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive. C.S. Lewis
Good Mental health is not keeping a list of wrongs. Do you?
 
Questions to consider and leave a comment
  • Why do people keep a ‘record of wrongs’?
  • Do you think God, in partnership with you, can change your thinking?
  • Why is it that what you focus on will always take you to that place? What do you focus on?
Barry Pearman

Photo Credit: Second-tree via Compfight cc

To get daily insights and quotes Follow me on  Twitter     Facebook      Google+        

Get my blog posts sent to you. Sign up to receive my blog posts for free via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-book on Depression FREE.

p8XwtF4HLkrQ1SkNYl83yWGJwptEAqpFq0GKiMB1U2abCRqtOy9wYbeVkWezKTnFF6NYN-xj19HIvBOeBHGtzFyD5wxaVr8tSwd8bX0S0_M0naugXe00OuAU Digging For Dirt Is Not Good For Your Mental Health. 4 Keys To Help You

Forgiveness Is … Letting The Little Fish Go

I think I must have been aged 6 or 7 when I caught my first fish. It was a sprat. I went on to catch other fish. When I can I love to go fishing and I no longer catch sprats but fish big enough for a meal.

In New Zealand we have some pretty strict rules about the size and quantity of fish you can catch. We want to protect our fishery and our future stocks of fish.

When you catch a fish and it is under the size limit then you need to let it go. Put it back in the water and allow it to swim off.

‘Let the little fish go’ is a phrase I heard a counsellor use referring to those little offences that happen to you.

Someone says something or does something that is hurtful. You’re offended and you take it on board, you fester and brood over. The ‘Little Fish’ slowly gains greater proportions to become a stuffed trophy hung on the wall.

You’re not like that of course are you?

Life is hard and it is so easy to catch little fish, take them on board and allow them to grow and dominate life. Our skill in catching them can become a habit. We become as sensitive as a snails eye. We lose friends, become bitter and a victim of the fish.

How do you let the ‘Little Fish’ go?

  1. Measure it. Is it worth the effort of holding on to it? If you hold on to this offense, then what might you be losing out on. Is it really that big? Ask others their opinion.
  2. Check your emotional response. What emotions are stirred up from the offence? Are there echoes being bounced of from past hurts? Is there actually an earlier fishy offence that you are still harbouring?
  3. Let it go. ‘I choose to not hold on to this offence. I am letting it go’. I place that offensive little fish into the hands of Christ. Do it as soon as possible. Why would I want to keep it and have it go smelly and attract flies?
  4. Make ‘Letting go’ a habit. Some little fish seem to be persistent in staying on board and you need to habitually repeat steps 1 -3 over and over again.

Perhaps as you learn the habit of Letting the Little Fish Go will become so familiar to you that when a Big Fish is landed, a large ugly offence, then you may find it easier to let that go.

 

A quote on muck to consider!
Rack the muck this way.
Rack the muck that way.
It will still be muck.
In the time you are brooding,
you could be on your way,
stringing pearls for the delight of heaven.
(Hasidic teaching)

Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  • Does it help to have a little phrase such as ‘Let the little fish go’ help?
  • What happens if we hold on to the ‘Little Fish’?
  • How do let the ‘Little Fish’ go?

 

Did you find this post helpful? Consider sharing it with others by using the Social Networking sharing options below. Thanks3021943823_8ffb3d9447_o Forgiveness Is ... Letting The Little Fish Go

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: notsogoodphotography via Compfight cc

To get daily insights and quotes Follow me on  Twitter     Facebook      Google+        

Get my blog posts sent to you. Sign up to receive my blog posts for free via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-book on Depression FREE.

3021943823_8ffb3d9447_o Forgiveness Is ... Letting The Little Fish Go

When in Grief Come to Mother Hen – Grief and Loss Part 1

What would it be like to never lose?  

3405094041_67d067b7f7_o When in Grief Come to Mother Hen - Grief and Loss Part 1
Photo Credit: leoncillo sabino via Compfight cc
In everything you do, you are a success. Every sport you play you win, every time. I think it would mean that life would be less colourful. There would be no sense of uncertainty and potential surprise.


None of us like to lose though do we, we always want to win. 

Also none of us like the thought of loss. 

That feeling of emptiness, of not having something important in our lives, something we possibly have enjoyed and embraced for some time and then it’s taken away. Or it might be something that we have always wanted but now we realise that we will never have.

C.S. Lewis wrote 

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world. C.S.Lewis

And certainly we were made for another world. A world where we never were to experience the sense of loss, of grief, of disappointment and of sadness. Deep down in all of us we have a desire for relationship that can fills our loneliness, yet in reality we may taste it ever so briefly and infrequently.

I think back to my first experience of grief and loss. 


I was probably about 8 or 9 and I was at camp. When it came to dinner time I was unable to eat what everybody else was able to eat because it had egg in it. I have an allergy to egg. I remember feeling completely alone, that I was different, that I couldn’t participate in what others were enjoying, I was cut off from some thing relationally with others. 

Now I don’t want people making a huge fuss over me because I have an allergy. But I learnt on that day, possibly for the first time, what it was like to experience loss.

You too may have had that same feeling of loss when for various reasons you have realised that you have missed out on something precious that others enjoy. 

Here are a few examples that I have found in people as I have listened to their stories

  • Not being able to have had children 
  • Not getting married 
  • Being adopted and not knowing who your father was 
  • Not having a career 
  • A father or mother dying at an early age and the impact this has on the children 
  • A son or daughter being disabled by accident or something else and the loss of the potential future they had 
  • A husband or wife dying and the loss of this relationship to their spouse 

There are probably many other examples that you could think of, ones that may apply more personally to you, but we all experience loss and grief. 


Its common to everyone that we have all experienced loss and to some degree we grieve and mourn for what could have been. As C.S. Lewis puts it, we were made for another world.

Do you think God experiences this sense of loss, a sense of grief? 


I actually think God does. 

The scriptures are full of stories of people and how God wants relationship with them yet they reject him. He even sends his son Jesus to them to invite them into this relationship with him, yet we nail him to a cross. 

The heart of God is always reaching out to us wanting us to come.

Jesus knows this pain of loss. He experienced it himself. There are passages that record Jesus crying, but there is one in particular that shows the deep grief and pain he experiences when we reject him.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Your people have killed the prophets and have stoned the messengers who were sent to you. I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn’t let me. Now your temple will be deserted. You won’t see me again until the time when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” Luke 13:34-35

Jesus starts off his lament by saying the name Jerusalem twice. He then goes on to explain that he has sent prophets and messengers to the city to get them to turn back to him. Yet they rejected all of his appeals. He uses a story to describe what he would like to have done had they allowed him. 


He wanted to gather them under his wings like a mother hen gathers her chicks

What a tender picture of love, and those listening to him would have remembered some other passages where God demonstrates a similar love.

Israel, the LORD discovered you in a barren desert filled with howling winds. God became your fortress, protecting you as though you were his own eyes. The LORD was like an eagle teaching it’s young to fly, always ready to swoop down and catch them on its back. Deuteronomy 32: 10-11

Show your wonderful love. Your mighty arm protects those who run to you for safety from their enemies. Protect me as you would your very own eyes; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8

I, the LORD All-Powerful, will protect Jerusalem like a mother bird circling over her nest. Isaiah 31:5

He will spread his wings over you and keep you secure. His faithfulness is like a shield or a city wall. Psalm 91:4

After talking about his sense of loss at there rejection of him he points out the consequence of there choice of rejecting him. 


Isolation. 

You see when a chick doesn’t go to mother hen when she calls, then it is completely isolated from the protection that its mother can offer it. 

It’s on its own to face the storms, to face the predators that would love to eat it. 

If it had run to the protection of mother hen, then it would have been all right.

Jesus then moves on to quote a section of scripture from Psalm 118:26. “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” As I looked up this passage in my Bible it has a title to the chapter – The LORD Is Always Merciful. This is a Psalm all about the Lords mercy. 


Five times it talks about his mercy.

3405094041_67d067b7f7_o When in Grief Come to Mother Hen - Grief and Loss Part 1Jesus is saying that God is always full of mercy, God always has a wing stretched up and inviting us in.

Where do you go when you experience that sense of loss? 

When you feel that pain, regret, and grief. 
Do you

  • Isolate yourself, don’t go near anybody, withdraw. 
  • Use drugs, alcohol to dull the pain, hit the bottle etc. 
  • Bury yourself in busyness; try and run away from it by working harder. 
  • Make light of it, put on a happy face and pretend to everyone that everything is ok, yet it isn’t. 
  • Lash out at others in their hurt.
I would suggest that Jesus would say ‘come to Mother Hen’. 

Come and experience his tender care, his mercy, his comfort. Spend time in honest prayer with him, cry if you like, he understands tears.

This is what Jesus said himself about mourning.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. Matthew 5:4 (The Message)


Come to Jesus. 
Come and know that he embraces you in your distress.

Questions to consider and leave a comment.
  • What experiences of grief have you had? 
  • Where did you find comfort? 
Barry Pearman

To the Power of Being Known

Have you ever been

found,
     found out, 
        or found wanting?

This picture comes from the story of the Men caught in Hypocrisy.

Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

“No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” John 8:1-11 (The Message)

Being found out exposes us to the judgment and potential condemnation of others.

Being found wanting brings us to a point of need, a cry for mercy, a hunger for grace. 
Being found and known is what we all need. 

Jesus knew her. 

He knew the reasons why she did what she did, he knew her background, he knew the pain that coursed its way through her life, and he found her. 

If he can find her, he can find you, and its ok.

Jesus in finding this unnamed woman gave her the gift of being known. He knew her deepest core need of being considered as worthy of love. Under all the pain and stain of life, here was one that was made in the image of God. 

Here was beauty waiting to fully released. 

I have recently been reading Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson. 

He writes this. 

It is only when we are known that we are positioned to become conduits of love. And it is love that transforms our minds, makes forgiveness possible, and weaves a community of disparate people into the tapestry of God’s family. 

To be known is to be pursued, examined, and shaken.

To be known is to be loved and to have hopes and even demands placed on you.

It is to risk, not only the furniture in your home being rearranged, but your floor plans being rewritten, your walls being demolished and reconstructed.

To be known means that you allow your shame and guilt to be exposed—in order for them to be healed. Curt Thompson M.D


Jesus sided with the sinner. 


Question to Consider and leave a comment.

  • What makes a person safe for you to allow them to know you? 
  • What fears surface at the thought of being fully known?

Barry Pearman

7 Steps to Cleaning the Dirty Laundry of the Soul

Washing clothes is a task that you do again and again. 
Cleaning generally comes down to plain old elbow grease, determination and a willingness to look bad in the face of love.

I’m talking about Soul cleaning. Getting rid of the bad stuff, the dust and the dirt of sin.

I think it was Martin Luther who confessed that the greatest loss in the Reformation was the loss of the confessional box. (Please don’t quote this as I am not sure if it is accurate. If you know the source etc can you let me know)

We all need a place to go, a person to listen, and a Saviour to heal.

Do you have a habit of confessing your sin? 

David, after he was confronted by the Prophet Nathan about his affair with Bathsheba cries out to God his penitent prayer in Psalm 51.

Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life. Psalm 51:1-7

When we come to God, and others, with a true heart of confession we desire to cleaned and scrubbed in the laundry.

Clothes in David’s time were often washed by immersing them in streams and then beating the cloth on a rock. Not just once, but many many times until the deepest stains had been pummelled out.

It is no wonder that confession is not a popular spiritual exercise to practice.

Confession is exposing the soul’s core dirtiness.

Now do we do this?

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to expose what needs cleaning. Some dirt remains hidden, unseen, and buried. The comforting and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit desires to come and minister to the core of your soul.

2. Find a Soul friend. Someone who is safe, who will listen deeply and not condemn. Someone who will point you to Jesus.

In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We owe love to all people, but only to a proven friend are we to entrust “the secrets of the heart”. Aelred of Rievaulx

3. Name the sin. If pride, don’t say I have pride in my life, rather confess where you have pride in your life. “I  have always thought I was better than …’ If you have hurt others ask them how you have hurt them. Write it down if you have to.

4. Embrace the sin. See it for all its ugliness. Don’t just intellectualise it, but take it into yourself at an emotional level.

5. Place the sin. If we just hold the rawness of the sin within ourselves it will eat us up. It will trap us within its power and lead to self hatred and a bearing of the eternal cost of what has occurred  There is a solution. We take the sin, named and embraced, and we place it at the base of the Cross. On the cross  Jesus took the full penalty for our sins. I imagine a sign being on the Cross saying ‘For these sins I died’. I place my list of sins at the base, I hear an eternal whisper ‘You are forgiven, washed, pure and clean.

6. Worship and thank Jesus. He has done so much on your behalf.

7. Repeat wash cycle. More washing to be done as the Holy Spirit reveals.

Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God. Pope John Paul 2

In failing to confess, Lord, I would only hide You from myself, not myself from You. Saint Augustine

Questions to consider and leave a comment
  • What experiences of confession have you had? 
  • What makes a person ‘safe’ to confess to? 
  • What can be the result of holding on to unconfessed sin?
Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: germeister via Compfight cc



Do You Ever Want to Clean other Peoples Windows?

184954508_06d2c94a53_o Do You Ever Want to Clean other Peoples Windows?
Photo Credit: andyaldridge via Compfight cc 

A young couple moves into a new neighbourhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbour hanging the wash outside.

“That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”

Her husband looks on, remaining silent.

Every time her neighbour hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments.

A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband:

“Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this.

The husband replies, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

And so it is with life…

What we see when watching others, depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.

I found this little story from Men Supporting Men, a great website with a Facebook page I would recommend. 

I have shared this little story with a few people and had a great laugh.

I would like to take it one step further and suggest that as a little exercise place yourself in the shoes of each of the three people in the story. 

  • The Neighbour. Here she is hanging out her washing. Going about her daily business while all along being judged, unfairly, by her new neighbour. Ever been judged by others? You know how it feels then. 
  • The Young Woman. She knows how to wash clothes. She sits in superiority over her neighbour, judges with personal comparisons and condemns her unfairly. She wants to give advice and bring the neighbour up to her standard. Ever judged others? 
  • The Husband. He has a bigger perspective and looks at the whole story. He sees something his wife doesn’t see and then does something about. He enables his wife to be potentially capable of reaching a different conclusion all by herself. He doesn’t tell her the window is dirty and that she is reading the whole situation wrong. Instead he provides an opportunity for her to see things differently. For her to learn in her judging manner. He realises that her perspective is her reality and that it will be her choice to change her perspective.


Well I am sure we can all identify the first two characters, but being the Husband requires patience, wisdom, and listening. It will require us to look for third options. 

Jesus said this

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

I have been going to our mainly music group recently. 

This is a little time we have in our church buildings for parents to bring their preschoolers along to sing, dance and play. There is one little girl, who twice now, has come up to me and reached her arms up for me to pick her. I do so and chat with her mum about cute her daughter is.
 
This little girl has childlike trust, she hasn’t yet learned to views things through dirty windows. It’s all clean, fresh and untainted. 

I want to be a ‘child of God’, a peacemaker, someone who sees things in childlike openness. Do you?

Peacemakers see things differently. The have a desire to reconcile differences, and for all to be at peace with each other. 

Jesus went on to say this.

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. Matthew 7:1-5 (The Message)

Ok, I am off to wash some clothes and clean some windows.

Questions to consider and leave a comment. 

  • How did it feel to be in each of their shoes?
  • What would it take for you to stop judging your neighbour in certain ways?
  • How do we become like a child with clean window perspective?

Barry Pearman