This morning, I completely lost my temper. I was driving a bus-load of people (my children, actually) on a trip, and I lost my way, repeatedly. We may have been given the worst map ever created, but my total lack of a sense of direction probably played a part.
After the 16th* wrong turn, my patience – already wearing thin – completely ran out. There were tears. There was screaming and shouting, swearing and slamming of doors. It was all very Celtic, in fact. (I don’t have red hair for nothing!)
By the end of it, after I had traumatised my children and made myself thoroughly ashamed of my behaviour, we did actually arrive at our destination.
The proverbial ‘devil’ on one shoulder thoroughly condemned me, for being a bad driver, a bad parent, and a bad Christian, not at all qualified to guide anybody else through the disciplines!
Thankfully though, I didn’t need to listen to the voice of the little ‘devil’, as I know that God’s righteousness, perfection, peace and mercy is more than a match for my weakness and failures.
Today in the Roman Catholic calendar it is Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast upon which the sacrament of Confession is encouraged, and forgiveness promised.
In the evangelical tradition with which I am familiar, however, of course there is no sacramental confession to a priest, and we tend not to practice confession at all, but in the letter of St James, there is the admonition to confess our sins to one another:
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
James 5:16 (NIV)
So I am confessing my sin and failure and weakness here to you and I ask that you would pray for me, so that I “may be healed” – of my anger and lack of self control (and poor sense of direction!).
The forgiveness that comes after confession makes us righteous, and so our prayers will be all the more effective.
May my Celtic temperament and passion be put to better use!
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever,
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*a random number, hopefully 16 is an exaggeration 🙂