ISSUES OF FAITH: When confessing, put the apple down

WHEN I’M READING a book and discover a profound sentence or thought, I mark the page number and a word or two on the front flyleaf for future reference.

Some people today store stuff in the cloud, but that seems too risky for me.

When my brain gets cloudy I can’t find anything — but I can always go to the flyleaf.

On the flyleaf of Calvin Miller’s book, “The Path of Celtic Prayer: An Ancient Way to Everyday Joy,” I wrote: “Pg 141, confession, teeth marks.”

Here’s his profundity: “We rarely put temptation at a distance — we stay too close to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The path behind us is strewn with the cast-off apple cores of our indulgence. Confession then is our only hope.”

And here’s Miller’s flyleaf-worthy definition of confession: “Confession is the bold step of putting the apple down, looking at it with God and agreeing that the fruit has our teeth marks on it.”

Teeth marks.

My teeth marks.

My editor at the Peninsula Daily News allows me only 500 words for this article, so you’re not going to get a lengthy doctrinal treatise on the confession of sin.

You can write the PDN a thank you note.

When we eavesdrop on the Garden of Eden scene in Genesis, we hear Adam and Eve giving God their excuses after being busted for eating the forbidden fruit.

Adam: “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree, and I ate” (3:12 ESV).

Adam reasoned that God gave him the woman and the woman gave him the fruit, so if anyone’s culpable, it’s God or Eve, but certainly not himself.

“Not my fault.”

Eve had a different excuse.

“The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (3:13), or to quote Flip Wilson, “The devil made me do it.”

Neither Adam nor Eve put the apple down, looked at the apple with God and said, “Yep, those are my teeth marks. I’m sorry.”

Note that Miller’s definition of confession isn’t just admitting to our teeth marks, it also includes “putting the apple down.”

That’s important.

That’s repentance.

Confessing while chewing is unforgiveable and rude.

I still find myself dancing too close to the tree sometimes and end up leaving some teeth marks.

That is why I am eternally indebted to Jesus.

He never left any teeth marks, but he was willing to pay for mine with the marks of nails on his hands and feet.

Fortunately, Jesus paid for our sins on the cross.

And because of that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:9-10 NKJV).

Put the apple down, agree with God that those are your teeth marks, say you’re sorry, tell Jesus thank you and stay away from the tree.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Greg Reynolds is pastor of Joyce Bible Church. His email is jbc@joycebiblechurch.org.

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