Poop and sin

The unexpected answer to confession
Jonathan Martin

21 November 2017

My son is starting to hide his sin.

Judah is typically a really good kid, but we’ve hit some challenges here in the 4th year of his little life. I’m pretty sure it’s normal “testing the boundaries” stuff, but even still, it’s heartbreaking to see little sin patterns pop up in your kids.

I just never expected his sin to be so messy. Like, poop messy.

In attempts to figure out ways to deal with anger and frustration at mom and dad telling him it’s time to go to bed — Judah decided to start pooping in a hidden corners of the house or in his closet. Let me just tell you, it’s maddening to feel like you’re smelling poop while falling asleep — it’s even more maddening to find out that you are indeed smelling poop because it’s in the corner behind your morning reading chair!

I’m just glad that our landlord doesn’t read this blog. (I hope)

What could be worse than pooping in the closest? Lying about it. And Judah has unfortunately had to learn that lesson the hard way. I know I said this before, but it truly breaks my heart. I love that kid so much — and this part of the parenting job is no fun. I will (begrudgingly) clean up poop any day — but the responsibility to discipline our kids when they sin is just heart-wrenching.

Judah’s new pattern of hiding his sin isn’t really a new pattern — it’s something passed down from the first of our kind, Adam and Even. We all do what’s wrong, we all sin, and then we all seek to hide it. This tendency has us living in the shadows and away from the light that might exposes us. (John 3:19)

But what an unexpected relief when we step into the light and confess our sin! David knows what it’s like to confess and repent his sin:

I told You about my life, and You answered me:

Teach me your statutes.

Psalm 119:26

David confessed his sins to God — and what was God’s answer?

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God’s answer is Jesus. When we confess all the yuck in our lives before God — surprisingly, His answer is one of mercy, not of judgment. Judgement is for those who remain hidden and refuse to step into the light — it’s sadly for those who persist in darkness because they reject the gift of the light. However, mercy is for those who come into the light. The answer of mercy is for those who confess and own their sin before God.

When we confess and believe in the atoning work of Jesus, the ultimate penalty for our sin falls on Jesus. That is some crazy kind of answer — some crazy kind of mercy. And even if God disciplines or allows that natural consequences of our sin to play out — His discipline is one of mercy and love. It’s not a discipline of punishment — but a discipline of correction meant to help us avoid the deadly sins that we are prone to embrace over and over again.

His answer of mercy should set our hearts on fire. If get really honest about our lives, an answer of mercy is not what we expect because we know it’s not what we deserve — and we expect to get what we deserve.

The answer for David’s sin was an answer of mercy and that compelled him to want to know more and more about God and His ways. A merciful answer should leave us wanting to do better, to be better — not because we have to earn God’s approval, but because we are so thankful and because we want to honor and love this abundantly merciful God.

“Justified men always long to be sanctified. Mercy which pardons transgression, sets us longing for grace which prevents transgression.”

Spurgeon

Confession is scary and painful. It’s painful because it forces us to face the worst parts of ourselves, the parts that we tend to keep hidden. And confession is scary because we know the kind of answer that we deserve. We all have to come to a point in our lives when we must decide whether or not we will believe that God’s answer is one of mercy. Until we believe that, we won’t take the risk, the leap, that comes with confession. And we also won’t step into the light until we believe that the sweetness of God’s merciful answer is worth the cost of facing the worst in ourselves.

God has an answer waiting for us if we would only be willing to step into the light and tell him about lives.

Praying that you and I both would take the confessional step of faith. That God’s mercy would compel us to walk in the light today and everyday.

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