My daughter Kathryn (5) took her Bible in the car to church on Sunday, and she wanted my husband to read her the story about the Ten Commandments in Exodus. As I was driving, he agreed to read it to her. As he read the list of “the ten good rules to help them be happy” from her My First Bible, I realized that I had broken almost every single one of them in the last week.
“Always remember that I am your God. I have rescued you, and I love you.” How many times this week did I forget what God has done for me, and allow myself to be consumed with worry or stress?
“Don’t let anything else take my place.” Looking at her little Bible again so I get the wording right, I notice that anything is in italics. And I know that I have let many things take God’s place this week, if only for a little while: that TV show I watched instead of writing, reading the Bible or praying; that project I just had to get finished; the extra dessert I was hoping would boost my mood and fill that empty place (and I don’t mean my stomach).
“. . . one day for rest—that’s my special day.” I know I need to keep the Sabbath better than I do. Right now it seems to be my catch-up day, my lesson planning day, my clean-up day. Certainly not my resting day.
“Don’t be greedy for what other people have.” So often I vacillate between thinking I have too much and wanting even more. A bigger (or at least more updated) house, a newer car without those creaking noises and the halfway broken DVD player, more and bigger vacations—I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore, but the bigger stuff sure gets to me sometimes, and I get to thinking how much easier and better life would be if I only had that . . . .
Anyway, all of this to say that my husband’s little reading lesson made a big impact on me. I need to realize the times when I fall short, more often than I do. Confession is a necessary part of our faith journey. We need to feel bad when we mess up. I’m not talking about being consumed with guilt, just a realization that “we all fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), and what my particular shortcomings are this week. I need to repent and turn back to God, which cannot happen unless I think about it and confess. I firmly believe we can get closer to God when we’ve confessed what we’ve done wrong, and then God forgives us in the way that only God can.