by: Father Larry Winslow
ALL CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE CONSTANTLY
AWARE OF THEIR PROPENSITY (NATURAL INCLINATION) TO COMMIT SIN.
St. John tells us that he
gives us his teachings so that we will not sin. But if we do sin, he reminds us
that we “have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, and He
is the propitiation for our sins” Further, prior to these statements, St. John
also reminds us that “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and
the truth is not in us.”
St. Paul, in discussing the
need for confession of our sins prior to approaching the Holy Communion, says,
“… whoever eats the Bread or drinks the Cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner
will be guilty of sinning against the Body and Blood of the Lord. A man ought
to examine himself before he eats of the Bread and drinks of the Cup. For
anyone who eats and drinks without recognising the Body of the Lord eats and
drinks judgment on Himself.”
Thus, True Confession is an
absolute necessity for Christians. It is essential for Christians to thoroughly
examine themselves before the Lord before making a full and real confession of
their sins. It is only in a state of full and proper Confession accompanied by
true and sincere Repentance that a Christian could be justly forgiven.
Our Confession is made in
the certainty that God, through Jesus will certainly forgive those sins for
which we truly repent.
At a cursory or superficial
glance, most Christians feel they do not have much to confess. The following
Guideline is given to help in making a full and complete confession to Almighty
God. Perhaps it will lead to finding things we normally tend to overlook.
SINS OF COMMISSION are those things we have done that we ought no to
SINS OF OMISSION are those things we have not done that we ought to
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (BCP pg 68):
- Have I made any other thing or person more important than God –
His Worship, His Service, His Glory, etc. – in my life?
- Have I set up anything or anyone in my life as being more
important than God? These could be such things as money, homes, cars,
power, people, etc.
- Have I used God’s Name in Vain? Have I cursed using His Name? Have
I used God’s Name, or represented Him to the world, in such a way as to
bring Him dishonour?
- Do I respect the God-given Sabbath Day in my life when I pay
special attention to the presence of God, the rest He has given me, and
growth in my knowledge and understanding of Him?
- Have I done anything to dishonour my parents by not obeying them
or not respecting them? Have I listened to them politely and spoken well
of them to my friends and neighbours?
- Jesus told us that hating in our heart or mind can make us guilty
of murder? Have I wished anyone taken out of my life or removed from this
earth? Have I actually taken another person’s life?
- Jesus told us that we could commit adultery even by our impure
thoughts! Have I had an impure sexual relationship with anyone? Have I
allowed myself to entertain impure thoughts concerning an imagined sexual
relationship with anyone?
- Have I stolen from anyone? Stealing can involve taking a physical
thing from someone that belongs to them or incorrectly taking away
immaterial things to which the person had a God-given right.
- Have I told any untruths to anyone or about anyone? Lying, no
matter how miniscule, is never acceptable in the eyes of God.
- Have I become so consumed by wanting something that someone else
has that I can think of nothing else? Coveting involves an all consuming
craving that causes one to be willing to do anything, regardless of it’s
being acceptable to God, to obtain that thing. It actually replaces God in
the priorities of our life.
SINS OF THOUGHT, WORD, AND
Sins of thought are those that we don’t necessarily actually commit
by doing something even though such action or deed may follow the thought. By
simply contemplating and/or entertaining ungodly thoughts one commits sin.
While a tempting thought is not sin in itself, developing or entertaining the
thought becomes sin. Have I allowed such thinking to carry on in my mind?
What we say and how we say things can easily become sinful!
Cursing and swearing, gossiping, telling unclean stories, etc. are all means
whereby we sin by word. Anything said that is not conducive to the Glory of God
is sin! Have I been guilty of such uncouth speech?
Sinning in deed involves those actions that are definitively
against God’s Will or that are not conducive to His glorification. Have I done
anything that directly opposed to God’s Divine Will? Have I done anything that
has brought even the perception of dishonour to God?
FAILURE TO LOVE:
- Failure to love God – Have I always
returned God’s wondrous love He has poured out toward me?
- Failure to love our neighbour – Have I
taken every opportunity to extend God’s Love toward my fellow human
beings? Have I failed to love my neighbour by truly forgiving the sins
committed against me?
THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS:
- Pride – is opposed to
humility. It causes us to place our own skill, will, and honour above God.
It places us in a higher position of importance than God – at least in our
own minds. Have you placed your own desire and wants above the Will of God
in your life?
- Covetousness – is placing anything
as being so desirable that it’s attainment supplants any other goal or
thought in our lives. Are you focused on something in the world so
powerfully that you are neglecting God’s Will or harming others?
- Lust – involves overly
strong passions or desires for anything. While it certainly involves
illicit sexual passion (as is its normally understood0 meaning in today’s world),
the sin of lust is any strong desire or passion that goes against or
supplants the Will of God. A Christian lusts after God and His Spirit and
not after the desires of the flesh! Are you lusting after anything other
than God in your life?
- Envy – is a sorrowing or
being distraught over something we do not have that someone else has. In
fact, we may even begin to dislike or hate the other person because of the
item. It can be a physical item or a personal trait or even a spiritual
gift. Do you envy anything or any gift that someone else has that you do
- Gluttony – is far more than an
unnatural consumption of food! Gluttony can involve food, drink, passions,
power, etc. that consumes our time and energy to the point of supplanting
God in our lives. Is physical or spiritual gluttony separating you from
- Anger – involves an unjust
annoyance against someone or something. One can have a just anger due to
an infringement against God’s Will (Jesus cleansing the Temple). But no
anger should lead to a grudge or to a need to “get even.” Such anger
causes one to lose sight of God’s Love and Forgiveness and places one’s
own self-righteousness above these Godly attributes. Are you harbouring
anger or a need for revenge against anyone right now?
- Sloth – is a laziness or
idleness that causes one to not perform the work of God in His Kingdom. A
slothful individual may be very energetic in many things of the world but
wilfully refrain from doing the specific work of God in the world. Have
you used worldly excuse or simply refrained from doing the work to which
God calls you?
FAILURE TO TAKE EVERY
OPPORTUNITY TO GROW IN KNOWLEDGE AND FAITH is a major sin of many
Christians today! They always seem to find some compelling reason not to do it.
Do you make it a Life Priority to learn of God from His Scriptures and increase
in Understanding of His Will for the world around you? Do you take seriously
the Great Commission of Jesus to be His Witness throughout the world and
especially where He has placed you?
THE SEVEN VIRTUES:
Is your Life characterized by the God-given
- Theological Virtues:
- Cardinal (Natural) Virtues: