I have this thing about sorting laundry. I don’t know where it came from, or why I’ve become obsessive about washing whites with whites, darks with darks, towels with towels.
I never used to be that way until my husband and I were blessed with the gift of our very own washer and dryer. I would just throw it all in, knowing that whether I sorted or not it would come out clean.
And this whole sorting and cleaning process got me thinking about how I ‘sort’ myself before I feel worthy of being cleaned.
Let me explain.
In my sinful mind, there are categories of sin. Selfishness, arrogance, pride – these sins come from my thoughts. Anxiety, fear, worry – sins that come from my lack of trust, from a place of fear in my soul. Slander, gossip, crude sarcasm – sins that come out of my mouth, originating in the heart.
When I pray, asking God for forgiveness, I oftentimes sort my sins. God, forgive me for my pride, forgive me for gossiping, forgive me for being fearful of the future… well, yep, that covers it.
Okay, not that casually, but you get the idea.
I feel like I have to cover all of my sin bases. All of the parts of my sinfulness. My whites, darks, towels.
When really, my prayer should be something like this.
Heavenly Father, all parts of me are sinful, all sins are wretched. There is no ranking, no sorting, no figuring out my sin before I confess them. There is just confessing. There is gossip, which comes from the heart and also the head, as well as the deep places of my soul that feel insecure. There is fear, and it might originate in my un-trusting soul but quickly spreads to irrational thoughts and unloving language towards those trying to comfort. There is selfishness, and I know that might start in my big head, but it also ends up in the words that spew so carelessly from my heart. So God, forgive me for sorting, because all of me in sinful. All of me is just as sinful as the rest of me.
I wish I could grasp this every time I confess. I wish I could understand the depth of my humanness, the depth of my sinfulness.
I wish I could understand that every sin touches all of me.
There is no sorting, no preparing. There is no figuring out which sin fits where, which base it might cover. There is just sin.
But thankfully there is a faithful God who loves us even when we sort, prepare, and try to cover our bases. He forgives anyway.
Practice confessing – truly confessing – with me, friends?
Maybe you’re asking “how?”
Well, may I encourage you with three truths about God?
He hears your every word. When you lie in bed and pray yourself to sleep, God hears you. When you mumble a quick prayer on the drive to work, God hears you. He chooses to be present, to hear our burdens, requests, and joys. So, when you are confessing, know that God hears.
This is different than “God hears.” God physically hears your prayers, but He also listens intently to your heart behind the prayer. He knows the real you – all of you. He listens to your emotions, your needs, your wants. He hears, yes, but He also listens. This means that God cares about the heart motive behind confession and the reason for your emotions. He listens because…
He crafted you. He called you to Himself. He cares about your wellbeing and your future. Which means He cares about your prayers. Remember that verse in Matthew 10 about the sparrow? God cares for and dearly loves the sparrow. But He cares about you even more.
What does this mean for your confession? Two things.
If God hears, listens, and cares, it means we are meant to confess. We are told to confess our sins in Scripture, so maybe this seems like a no-brainer. But can I challenge you on something? When you confess, do you believe that the Lord hears, listens, and cares about your confession?
If God hears, listens, and cares, it means we are washed clean immediately. There is instant forgiveness from God when our confession comes from a place of true sorrow over our sin. But… we must grasp that God hears, listens, and cares about our repentance. It makes His grace and forgiveness all the more beautiful.
Folding and sorting laundry really gets me thinking. And this time it was something so incredibly merciful that God blew my mind away.
Why do I “sort” my sins? Because I didn’t understand the depth of God’s hearing, listening, and caring. When I finally did grasp that reality, there was no sorting.
There is just sin. And confession. And forgiveness.
Prayer. Confession. These are hard topics. Have a question? Email me! I don’t claim to be a theologian, but I do claim to enter the lives of people who want to know Jesus better.