By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v. 6, ‘confessing their sins’
Our fragile sense of self leads us to deny the truth—even when, deep down, we know we are wrong. In the face of sin, we are inclined to run away, cover ourselves, and when all else fails, point the finger at someone else. But John calls us to confess our sins. The Greek word ‘confess’ means to agree that something is true. To confess our sins is to agree with the truth that we know deep within ourselves—that we are complicit in the evil of this world, even that evil which brings harm to ourselves. But it is one thing to confess sins. It is another thing altogether to label other groups as ‘sinners,’ without including ourselves as chief among them. The Pharisees are renowned for this trait, but the truth is, we are all Pharisees. We use power to try and set the terms of the debate. But Jesus shows us another use of power: to join with others in non-judgmental and authentic relationship, in solidarity with the condemned. It is the power of compassion. Jesus stands in solidarity with us, even in our sins. That is the point of the cross, in fact. For surely this is a greater truth: where there is sin, there is mercy.
Prayer God, help us not deny the truth, but confessing our sins, to find mercy.