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Lenten Meditation: The Honest Confession

This meditation was part of Grace’s 2023 Lenten Meditations Series, As Jesus Taught Us to Pray (available via podcast). The meditations in this series were written and read by members of the Grace Pres community, and collectively follow the outline set by the Lord’s Prayer. You can listen to this episode here (podcast).

Today is Wednesday the 22nd of March and this week we are focusing our prayers on the Forgiveness of God as demonstrated in the Lord’s Prayer when Jesus prays: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”


As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still, and to recenter my scattered senses upon the presence of God.

Call to Worship

The Lord calls us to worship today with the words of Psalm 32, and we join with the ancient praise of all God’s people saying:

3For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

5I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

—Psalm 32:3-5 (ESV)


Today I am reflecting on the words of 1 John 1:5-10 where the Apostle John explains what is required for true fellowship with God.

5This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Father, how often is the truth not in us! We confuse obedience with legalism, freedom with license. We hold no grace for the moral, yet we think ourselves better than the immoral. We clean up for others while we sin in secret. We worship you for a short time and then return to our sinful ways like a dog that returns to its vomit. We cover up our shame with our good deeds so that we wouldn’t need to face you. Reveal to us our callused consciences and our seared sensitivities to the demands of Your law, the graveness of our sin, and the wonder of Your grace. Forgive us our debts, O God, and may Your kindness lead us to repentance.


As I return to the passage, I notice the stark contrast between light and darkness. It is daunting when we come across a statement as absolute as, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” This light can seem terrifying. As King David writes elsewhere, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”

Yet John says that even if we walk in the light, we still need Jesus to cleanse us and forgive us. Walking in the light then doesn’t mean being sinless. In fact, if we say we have no sin, we’re lying. Rather, walking in the light means living in truth.

We deny the truth when our heart does not want to admit the depth of its darkness. We either discount God’s law or downplay our own guilt. We discount the sanctity of His law when we call upon His forgiveness but continue to nurse grudges, feed addictions, reinterpret His commands to suit our desires, and excuse our selfishness in twisted ways. “Who can resist God’s will?” We downplay our guiltiness when we compare ourselves to others and thank God that our lives aren’t as messy as theirs or our sins aren’t as flagrant; when we feel entitled to blessings because of our performance, and grumble when we don’t receive them.

We deny the truth when we lack reasons to confess. But when we understand our unworthiness and confess our sins, we walk in the light and Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin. In the hands of people, mercy is unpredictable, but John assures us that God’s mercy is guaranteed because it is backed by His justice and the full faith and credit of Jesus’ atonement. It can never be taken away.

As the old hymn goes,

Let us wonder; grace and justice
join and point to mercy’s store;
When through grace in Christ our trust is,
justice smiles and asks no more:
he who washed us with his blood
has secured our way to God.

God is faithful. So let us come before the Lord in repentance to receive His just mercy.

What obstacles, what darkness, stands in the way of your fellowship with God and His people today?


And now, as I prepare to take this time of prayer into the coming day, the Lord who loves me says in the book of Romans:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith… Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Closing Prayer

Now let us pray as Jesus taught us to pray…

Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, forever. Amen.

Today’s meditation was written and read by Xuan Wu, produced by Jess Springer, with music by Michael Anderson.