Sometimes the Old Testament can feel fairly heavy and negative and a little bit scary.  But I like this one.

My child, if you have sinned, do so no more, and for your past sins pray to be forgiven.  Flee from sin as from a serpent that will bite you if you go near it; Its teeth, lion’s teeth, destroying human lives.  All lawlessness is like a two-edged sword; when it cuts, there is no healing.  Panic and pride wipe out wealth; so too the house of the proud is uprooted. Prayer from the lips of the poor is heard at once, and justice is quickly granted them. Whoever hates correction walks the sinner’s path, but whoever fears the Lord repents in his heart.

Sirach 21:1-6

“My child, if you have sinned, do so no more.”  What a great way to say it.  If you have (and of course who hasn’t)  just don’t do it again.  “And for your past sins pray to be forgiven.”  I feel the peace of being in a confessional.

And having spent the day dealing with the trouble created when someone cannot accept criticism and feedback, I appreciate the reminder that “whoever hates correction walks the sinner’s path.”  It is good to be humble and accept correction. We all can learn.  We all can do better.  And perhaps a little fear of the Lord is good, so we repent and accept the correction.  But I hope that I repent, not just out of fear but out of humbleness and our of love.

My God, I am sorry for my sins.  In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you, who I love above all things.  I firmly resolve, with your help and your grace to repent and to sin no more.

One thought on “Sin is bad. Forgiveness is good.

  1. I too find the Old Testament to be very heavy. Sometimes so confusing and complicated, and then sometimes too simple. Honestly my first thought on “if you have sinned, do so no more” was, OH! OK! Easy Peasy! I’ll just never sin again! NOT! It’s just a little too simple and maybe even a bit far fetched! But of course, I know the writer really doesn’t meant it this way. He goes on to explain how to avoid sin. “Flee from sin as from a serpent that will bite you if you go near it” First off, I just want to say that snakes really get the short end of the stick going back to the beginning of time! I actually like snakes! But that’s off topic. Flee from sin and don’t go near it – to me this means, if you really want to sin no more – don’t go where there is temptation. If you have the sin of gluttony, don’t go to an all you can eat buffet. If you lust – don’t turn on the TV, or computer or go out of the house! – Just kidding! Don’t drive past the strip bar on your way home – find a different route. Or, don’t buy those magazines with the paper bag around them to read about today’s economy. If you have a gambling addiction, don’t go dinner at a restaurant in a casino. I think we all understand how those sins can cut so deep and destroy our lives, but what about the more common sins that we don’t think are so bad? Like the sins of gossip? Talk about destroying lives! Not so much the person you gossip about, but you! The one that is gossiping. What you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me. The person you are gossiping about is fine. He/she is living life and moving on. But you – you did that to Jesus. How’s your life going? If you like to gossip, don’t hang around the water cooler with all those gossipers. Find a water fountain.
    I don’t know too many people that like to be corrected. But to be corrected is really a beautiful thing. Don’t scoff or be embarrassed or try to repair your pride. Learn and use the lesson to be closer to God.
    A short witness – After THE election, I went to work and my workplace was filled with crying employees. CRYING! I was quick to judge and just thought it was ridiculous and a little out of hand. I was not compassionate, and just thought they were all adults and they need to get over it and deal with it appropriately. I was talking with someone and we both agreed that the reactions were a bit over the top. That’s when one person walked up and heard us. He said “That’s how they feel. They can’t help how they feel.” I felt like I was about an inch tall. Actually I probably wished I was an inch tall. But I realized that he was right. These people were genuinely sad or scared or both. Regardless if it was reasonable – (I’m afraid to be within 20 feet of the edge of a cliff that has a 5 foot iron railing… ) it’s how they felt. Later, I emailed and thanked that person for “putting me in my place” I thanked him for the hard, but good lesson that was very humbling. For that, I now think I am more patient, not so quick to judge, more compassionate and respectful. Hopefully, more pleasing to God.

    Dear Lord,
    Thank you for putting people in my life who are not afraid to correct me or put me in my place. I need a good whack on the back of the head every once in a while! Thank you Lord for those hard but so valuable lessons to guide me away from sin and toward You!


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