A way out of Depression
I’ve often identified with the Apostle Paul’s changing descriptors of himself as he advanced in years. “I am the least of the apostles…, the least of all the saints…, the chief of sinners.” The older I grow in faith the more conscious I’ve become of my own rebellions against the Lord who loves me and seeks my best. Why do I do it? Simple. Because I want to. Sin pleases me. It does not please God; it wounds Him deeply. Too often do I put my life in danger by stepping outside of His perimeters of protection for me. I am a foolish man who needs to admit my capricious revolt in confession, as real guilt before a Holy God, and seek Christ’s forgiveness. Thus— soul confession becomes a way out of depression.
More likely than not, my soul’s confession should be a daily thing; providentially. I tend to dwell on being genuinely forgiven through Christ’s grace in salvation, rather than constantly groveling in the dirt before God. Nonetheless, some significant time of soul-searching is always in order. Oddly, I believe Christ would have me come openly and humbly before him in the process, still holding onto his gift of forgiveness and new life, possibly to soften the blow, more likely to deepen the honesty and sincerity.
What Do I Need to Confess?
Before we get into the nature of our confession, it would be wise to refine an understanding of Sin. To be sure, it IS definitively breaking God’s Law, delineated within the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible. But that definition, at best, is rudimentary and simplistic. Sin is such an anachronistic, ambiguous word that it necessitates further amplification for a world which sees Sin, if it considers it at all, as merely getting caught.
Let’s start with an examination of the “logic,” the “why,” of the law. For God’s law was not given to us arbitrarily; it was conferred upon us in a context with a purpose that most of us have forgotten.
The Context for the Law
The simple question here is, “Why was the Law given?” Most people will respond that it was given to point out sin, or to keep us from sinning. But go further back in time, to the Garden. Whether you treat this Biblical passage as historical or metaphorical, the Truths it presents remain unchanged—the order of Creation, our ancestors first steps (and missteps) with God, their assignment to designate animal characteristics (“naming” them), God’s command to expand the human race through “knowing” one another intimately. And one, ONE, constraint, only one command— “Do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil; for in that day you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) Among all the pleasures and responsibilities granted our first ancestors was inserted just one prohibition, ONE— DO NOT. Was it, on the one hand, a simple experiment our Creator Father had put in place to test our devotion and thankfulness to Him: or, on the other hand, was it a stated warning for our own protection?
We failed. Our lives were now truly at risk.
Subsequent laws given through Moses, also given for our protection, were constructed to address a now disparate, unruly and rebellious “people of God.” Thus, did our ancient ancestors develop further amplification on the Law in the form of the Mishna (commentary on the Law), and the Gemara (commentary on the Mishna). Ancient Jews understood quite well what it meant to break the Laws of a holy God. They were painstaking meticulous in their strict compliance to adhere to even the remotest hint of law breaking. But they had forgotten its original purpose— to teach us to trust in the Father, and to protect His Creation.
The context for all laws, those found in natural creation, human history, and the Judeo-Christian tradition are the same— to keep us safe, under the protection of our Creator, so that we might flourish in this world. To forget this is to lose the context for confession.
What we call “sin,” represents our choice to step outside the perimeters of God’s protection, to challenge His sovereignty. Confession is the realization that we have stepped outside of the protection of our God & Father. Confession opens a space for us to seek resolution and restitution in a relationship with our Creator through forgiveness and to nestle once again within His safety.
I’ve never enjoyed swimming in muddy waters. You?
Honor God, honor people, make a difference,
Dr. Gary Davis, President
NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— this gets personal.