Have you ever walked into a room and knew that a diaper needed to be changed? What if it was your own child? How long would you wait to change the diaper? Even if you knew that they would need another diaper change later that day, I bet you would help them.
I recently read about how confessing our sins to God is like getting our diaper changed in a book by Fr. Donald Calloway, and the analogy wouldn’t leave me alone. I keep thinking to myself, “Oh Lord, a certain family member really needs their diaper changed. He/she needs to confess and be made clean. I don’t like smelling the odor of their dirty words and their angry tone.”
And then God gave me a reality check through the words of Jesus: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in our own eye?”
Ouch! Jesus’ question hit me like an arrow straight into my hardened, judgmental heart. It had been too long since I had spent time praying and asking God to show me what I needed to confess. Perhaps I am the one who is smelling up the room?
So I sat with my journal and asked the holy spirit to convict me of any selfish words, attitudes or actions that have offended my holy Father. The longer I sat the more the spirit revealed.
A verse I had memorized years before encouraged me that God would be faithful to help clean me up. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
So I encourage you to sit in quiet and spend time asking the Lord for what you might need to confess. Sometimes I start by meditating on God’s definition of Love in 1 Corinthians 13-4-5. “Love is patient, Love is Kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
When I reflect on God’s sacrificial pure love in I Corinthians 13, I often get a reality check that my diaper needs a changing. May our reality checks always lead to attitude checks on how we love those in our lives.
I am slowly learning that our job is not to judge those around me but to love them and perhaps through our own joy of being made fresh, clean and forgiven; they might be encouraged to get clean too.
So my sweet sister, do you need your diaper changed today? I know I do.
Happy New year to you my friend! Did you know that every 50 years comes a really special one? …. the Jubilee. I have found the secret of how to have this joyous Jubilee year right now in 2022.
So let me start by explaining about the Year of Jubilee in the Old Testament. On the day when the awaited Jubilee year begins ( kind of like our New Year’s Eve) a single long victorious blast (after 10 days of fasting, prayer and repentance) rang out announcing freedom and joyfully proclaiming that all family land is to be returned to the original owner. ( Lev. 25:13) All debts were to be forgiven and forgotten, and any family members who were slaves (for working off debt) would be set free. Can you imagine the joy and celebrating on this awaited, victorious year of all years? Imagine……your husband or son set free from slavery. Restored family land and relationships. A fresh new beginning for God’s chosen people.
In order to relate and understand this ancient Israel Joyous celebration to our modern culture, please imagine this scenario with me:
A wealthy older relative entrusts you with an exquisite, dazzling diamond ring and instructs you to pass the ring down to your children and grandchildren. The large, pure, brilliant diamond is a priceless masterpiece and your most valued possession.
Every time you look at this great gift, you are reminded of the great love of the one who bestowed it to you. However, as the years go by you make some poor choices that put your family into debt. In order to buy food for your family, you are left with the agonizing decision to exchange your ring for money at a local pawn shop. For years you diligently work in an effort to buy the ring back but to no avail.
You grief for your own loss is multiplied as you also grieve for future generations who have lost out on this gift as well because of your past poor choices. Sometimes you visit the pawn shop to just admire the beautiful ring. Though the ring has now become dirty and dull from neglect. But you still yearn to have it back and regret your past mistakes. and worse of all, you know deep down in your heart that you are lost and dirty just like the family Jewel.
One day (decades after you sold the ring), you stop by the pawn shop and the owner tells you that your ring has been paid for in full and will be yours again, You fall to your knees in grateful relief as tears stream down your joyful face. You ask the pawn shop owner “Who did this?”
A wealthy Prince steps out from behind the curtain and kneels down to wipe your tears and then lifts you up. “I’ve come to pay off all your family debt, and to restore all that you have lost. I am the Jubilee. I am your redeemer who has come to set you free” He presents the diamond and right away you notice that it has been cleaned and now brightly dazzles. and you know in your soul that if you ask for help, your heart will be cleaned and restored as well.
Who is this Prince who left His perfect Kingdom to rescue us and provide a way for restoration with His Father, the King of Kings ? His name is Jesus.
Jesus is our Jubilee
In fact, when Jesus walked this broken earth he declared that He had come to be our Jubilee. He went to his own local town (Nazareth) and read out loud from the prophet Isaiah ( Isaiah 61 1-2) in the synagogue about himself.
Jesus stood up and read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. ” Luke 4: 18-19
And he rolled up the scroll and give it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all the synagogue were fixed on him. And He began to say to them,
“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus used the word Today.
Today, starts the Year of the Lord’s favor. Today, my friend.
He promises liberty for Today because of Easter Day.
Can you hear the brass trumpets on Easter Day that echo the sound of Liberty of the shofar horn?
And on The Final Day when we will be liberated from these waning, perishable bodies, the angels will play a final trumpet victory blast. (Math. 24 :31-32, 1 Corinth. 15:51-52)
Do you (like me) feel like the dirty diamond who has lost its shine? Perhaps the eyes of your blind heart need to be opened? Do you want to have your debts (sins) forgiven by the great Redeemer? Would you like your relationship to be restored with your friend and Lord Jesus? Remember that the Shofar blasted after a time of prayer, fasting and repentance.
He is waiting. Stop trying to clean yourself up. He just needs you to admit that you need help. Fall to your knees in humble worship and allow Him to forgive, set-free, clean, restore and lift you up.
The Secret to having a Jubilee year in 2022 is to let ourselves be cleaned first. Then, you and I will sparkle like freshly-cleaned, dazzling diamonds in this dark and needy world.
I heard that you woke up regretting your choices from the night before. I have been there sister ….many times. We try to blame someone else, make justifications and excuses …..and then the agonizing guilt when we finally admit that we made an unholy choice and disappointed our Holy God.
It we truly don’t want to make the same mistake again and grow from this then we do need to feel that pain for a short while. For God loves you and I so much that He wants us to grow in holiness and learn from our mistakes. Name your sin and find a bible verse that deals with it so you will be better prepared next time. (google it:) What should you have done differently? What will you do next time to avoid a similar situation or outcome?
Now the good news………..
Our sin is like a drop of water in the Ocean of God’s Mercy.
Compared to God’s ocean of Love and Mercy, your sin is just a drop. Think of how huge the ocean is…water beyond what your eyes and mind could ever comprehend. Now try to comprehend Mercy and forgiveness that is beyond what we could ever deserve. A forgiveness that erases our sins as if they never existed. So write your sin down and tell God that you are sorry. If you are at the seashore write it in the sand. If you are catholic arrange to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. The key is to acknowledge your sin.
If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
1 John 1:9
Do you need to apologize to a friend or family member? make restitution? Even though we are forgiven, sometimes we need to show that we are sorry. Ask God for wisdom and help with this…courage too.
Now rejoice! You are forgiven.
God asked Mother Angelica, as she stood by the ocean after throwing back a drop of water that had landed on her arm….
“Can you find it now ?”
Walk sweet sister as one who has been forgiven much and then offer that same generous mercy to all those around you.