Sorry: the practice of self-examination and confession, strengthening through failure.
It makes no sense to minimize
Or rationalize, to defend
Or blame, to deny
For I have done wrong.
Capable of big, I have shrunk to smallness.
Capable of kind, I have contracted to cruelty.
Capable of wise, I have darkened to stupid.
Capable of humble, I have stooped to pride.
Capable of strong and full, I have caved in to the emptiness,
Caved in upon myself.
Limits? I have exceeded them.
Targets? I have fallen short of them.
Boundaries? I have transgressed them.
Opportunities? I have wasted them.
Temptations? I have flirted with them and slept with them.
Treasures? I have stolen them and squandered them.
Possibilities? I have turned from them.
Glories? I have traded them for trash, dirt, puke.
Excellency? No, I have sucked the thumb of mediocrity instead.
Hope? I have preferred fear.
Mercy? I have preferred sharp vengeance or dull grudge.
Humility? I have chosen self-aggrandizement and self-defense instead.
Life, abundant? I have found it easier and more convenient
To be dead.
I am tempted to run from you
Or to send you away.
For I do not want you to see me like this.
Yet you do see me.
I do not want to be like this.
Yet you know I am.
Will you be my accuser?
Or my forgiver?
Or my defense?
Will I add to my sins that most grievous pair of destructive evils:
To deny or devalue your gracious and compassionate nature,
As if you were as unforgiving as I can be,
Or to presume upon your gracious and compassionate nature,
As if my failures don’t matter?
How can I avoid the one without falling into the other?
Only one way: to confess the double-edged truth:
My sins are great, and your grace, greater.
Only one way: to feel the double-edged truth:
Regret for my sins, relief for your compassion.
Only one way: to know the double-edged truth:
I am sorry for what I have done to myself and others, and
I am sorry for what I have done to you.
I am sorry. Sorry.
I feel regret. Regret.
And as I sit with my sorrow,
Hold it like a wound,
The wound heals.
The sorrow transforms.
It is now gratitude, for
I have been forgiven.
It is now much love, for
I have been forgiven much.
It comes as such a shock to me
To see you see me nakedly,
And to know that you still
Love me without
Such sorrow, such grief.
Such gratitude, such relief.
Like parched soil, I
Let them sink in together,
To nourish the seed.
And now, I am possessed by a
To show the mercy to others
That You have shown to me.
Prayer for the Sinned Against
One: Abiding Spirit, you know us, and all of your Creation, better than we know ourselves.
All: In your loving knowledge, you care about each of us – and for all Creation.
One: In your care, you call us all to your vision of “complete joy” and “abundant life.”
All: But too often, we turn from this, and harm each other and ourselves.
One: We forget Jesus’ vision of love for God, neighbor, and self.
All: At times, we perpetuate sin against you, and your beloved people, by bringing: pain instead of love, isolation instead of community, oppression instead of liberation, and empty platitudes instead of acts of justice.
One: At times, we feel the pain of sin by being the sinned against.
All: Some of our voices have been ignored.
One: Some of us have verbally abused.
All: Some of us have remained hungry, while others ate.
One: Some of us have been held captive, while others enjoyed freedom.
All: Hear, us Holy God, as we name the experiences of being sinned against.
[Feel free to name, silently or aloud, the times when you have been hurt by sin.]
One: We confess our own sins that we know have brought pain to others and God, and name the sins that have been to us and God, because we want the world to be healed by your transforming Spirit.
All: Forgive, where there needs to be forgiveness.
One: Heal, where there needs to be healing.
All: Give voice, where there needs to be voice.
One: Bring humility, where there needs to be humility.
All: And help all of your Creation, including each of us, to taste the goodness of your “complete joy” and “abundant life.”
One: Abiding Spirit, help us rest assure in your forgiving, healing, and transforming embrace.
All: Praise and thanks to you, our Solid Rock and Healing River. Amen!
From the minEmergent daily email …
Our true and full self
“What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are . . . because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing.”
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