Sometimes when we search our hearts, it’s hard to admit the ugliest sins of pride, superiority, judgement, hatred, or all those things we don’t want to see in ourselves. The shame is so great that we do things like make excuses, ignore, or hide. Shame feels like a disintegration of self and a tormenting sense of inherent badness.
And we often also don’t believe it’s happening. Sin often surprises us because we continue to think we’re always good. We cannot believe our default state thinking and attitudes. We cannot believe how self-centered we are or how unloving our heart can be. I think about how in my own garden, I weeded deeply. I uprooted every invasive and destructive thing. I put down barriers of cardboard and three inches of mulch. But you know what inevitably comes.
I look out the window. Some weeds have found their way in, just like sin into the garden of the heart.
But as soon as we come into the light with Jesus, we experience the forgiveness and cleansing that He provides. We dismantle shame when we own the truth of who we are and our great need of rescue from ourselves. We stand in His grace as a sinner in desperate need with nothing to offer toward our own salvation. It’s the greatest transformation we’ll ever undergo in our life–this transfer from condemnation to righteousness.
By the Holy Spirit, we change. We still sin, but more and more, we become like Jesus. We are rescued from the body of death and the desires of what Paul’s calls “the flesh.” We’re told in Romans how when our minds are governed by the flesh, it’s death. But the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Confession of sin is a way of staying is step with the Spirit.
It’s a great thing to search the heart. It’s a great thing to see the weed, uproot it, and do it again and again every fresh morning.
I’ll weed today. I’ll weed tomorrow. It’s the nature of things.