“Confession is like a bridle that keeps the soul which reflects on it from committing sin, but anything left unconfessed we continue to do without fear as if in the dark.”
–Saint John Climacus
I have been observing this momma duck and her ducklings for about a week or so around the pond at work during my morning walk. Yesterday, as I walked around and noticed the mother duck, I only saw one duckling nestled under her wing. About a week ago, there were around 13.
As I ponder the fact that some other animal had been lurking around and devouring these poor little ducklings for a nice meal, I couldn’t help but think about how often in my own life the enemy of my soul lurks around waiting to devour me. Ever so sneaking, he preys upon me. He does it in little things – mostly in the small sins I commit and tuck away. And so often the impact is to my family and friends.
Do you often feel like you are prey to darkness? Have you hidden away small sins or may be big sins deep within? Do you ever feel like these small sins are consuming little bits of you?
Like many, I struggle with ongoing sins, those I commit over and over again. They come in various sizes and degrees. Perhaps you struggle with some of these same things.
All the enemy has to do sometimes is just strike at my heal and cause something to not go my way or as I expected. I become frustrated and say words that I never meant to say but just rolled off my tongue. How many friendships have ended because of that very thing? How many family relationships become strained because of the slaying of the tongue in anger?
Jealousy is such a lovely sin because it’s one that springs most often from a feeling of not being loved. No matter what our brains know and understand about one’s love for us, the enemy preys on our heart, our emotions and tells us that the other person doesn’t love us or love us as much as someone or something else and our friend jealousy strikes.
This one is a definite struggle. Who doesn’t want to accept a pat on the back and think they are the best? Who doesn’t want everyone to know that they are good at something? Accepting a pat on the back is not bad but the enemy very slippery will come on in and enlarge that pat on the back into the sin of pride. Have you had a friendship that was strained because you were overly proud of your capability and squashed their ability?
I think, often, procrastination affects us when we ignore God and His will for us. When you have the gut wrenching desire to go help at a food pantry, a shelter, or join a ministry and you put it on the back burner, telling yourself, “I’ll do it later when I have more time.” Perhaps at that very moment you were intended to be at that place to fulfill God’s plan in you or someone else’s life. How many opportunities have you passed up that God was calling you to because you procrastinated?
I don’t think anyone does this, right? Perhaps this is one that most people struggle with over and over again. I use to work with a coworker that use to start off her gossip conversations with “I mean this in a Christian way, but …..” It baffled me. How in the world can you put Christ’s name in a conversation where you are going to talk about or judge someone? Gossip is the double sworded tongue. The enemy comes in and he gives you a sense that you will feel better about yourself if you share things about another. In other scenarios, he tells you that you are helping someone by sharing something they confided in you with another. A chain reaction kicks into play – very quickly. How many relationships have been ruined over gossip? How many stories have been misconstrued over gossip?
This is one I love. My girls and I often get in very good debates on the existence of a “good lie”. Sure there are lies that are told for very good intentions, such as keeping a surprise. Our debate normally is about a “good lie” or “the white lie” that it is still a lie no matter how you slice it. If we get in the habit of justifying a lie as a “good lie”, then we are being the judge of what is sin and what is not. We are essentially playing God.
Of course there are more little sins than what I mentioned above but these are probably the more common ones that are repeat offenders for most. In each of these, I think the enemy finds a little crack, perhaps our weakness, and strikes.
After the enemy preys on us and devours a small piece within us, he falls to the floor giggling with laughter because he has defeated the light God places within us and sheds darkness upon it. My girls watch the series “Once Upon a Time”. It’s a very twisted version of the fairy tales most of us grew up reading. I find it quite interesting that when a good person does something that is sinful, their heart darkens and they become an antagonist in the story line. I kind of view that same analogy with our own battle with sin. When we allow these small sins to devour us internally little by little, we are allowing it to spread darkness within us.
So how do you get rid of it? How do you illuminate the dark areas of sin in your life? You could repair some of the damage by doing good deeds and works. But that doesn’t repair your soul, it helps to repair the relationships and connectivity of your sin to the world, which is called penance. It is imperative that you go to confession often, seeking forgiveness for all sins, especially the smallest sins that are tucked away in darkness. It is in this very Sacrament that God’s love, mercy and compassion fills the dark crevices within you, illuminating you with His very light.
Dig deep within and uncover those small sins tucked away and go to confession. Jesus defeated the enemy on the cross and offers you this forgiveness to defeat the enemy so that he does not devour you, separating you from the grace God offers you every microsecond of the day.