Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD” and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
– Psalm 32:5
A long time ago, in a galaxy – well, in a town – far, far away, I got a speeding ticket.
Yep, you know the feeling (’fess up). How it all unfolded affected me incredibly!
After the officer pulled me over and I stopped my stomach from convulsing, I got out of the car.
He asked: “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
I wanted to say: “Because you’ve had a bad day and need a hug?!” But wisdom told me to shut up.
Instead, I said: “Officer, I must have been speeding.”
He replied: “What?”
I responded: “Sir, I just got off work, I’m driving home, and I have no doubt I was speeding. Is there anything you need me to sign?”
He acted baffled and surprised, and then had me walk a white line to make sure I wasn’t drunk. Honest. After all was said and done, he gave me a warning and said, “Just be careful and slow down. Take care!”
Before I got back in my car, I asked why he had me walk the white line. His response caught me.
“Mr. Gordon, in all my years on the force, I have never had anyone admit to me that they were speeding. I assumed you must have been drunk. Actually, I wasn’t sure what I should do next.”
God has this perspective on our lives that most of us cannot grasp. He knows all of our sin (yes, even the one you are thinking now) in full detail, but he is not a Barney Fife with a radar gun and one bullet waiting to chase us down. His love is so compassionate that he wants us to be captive to it.
Sin in our lives is so offensive, to us and him, because we know the separation it causes between us and him. We cannot help but run to him and beg forgiveness the moment we see the flash of blue lights, or whatever cue the Holy Spirit gives you, commonly called conviction.
When you and I hold on to our sin, cover it up, rationalize it, not acknowledge it as what it is – and even in some cases claim it as righteousness – we “cover our iniquity” and choose to be separated from him.
Ultimately, it is pride. None of us wants to be wrong or have to admit it. But God forgives our sin and the guilt when we pray and ask forgiveness.
Did you catch that? The guilt is forgiven as well as the sin. As an occasional passenger on Guilt International Airlines (with a lot of frequent flyer miles), that’s huge for me, as I hope it is for you.
You can get off that plane with a simple acknowledgement: “God, I’ve blown it. I cannot blame it on anyone else or anything else. I have blown it!”
Pray, openly acknowledge, and enjoy the guilt-free ride of his grace and forgiveness.
Don’t drive too fast, though.
The Rev. Chuck Gordon is pastor of Greenbrier Church in Evans.