For the Journey

Praying about personal sin has several meanings. The prayer of it has to do with regaining a sense of how impersonal I have really been in my relationship with God and God’s creatures. The gifts of my life have been given as a relational experience; God as person contacting me as person.

My personal pattern of sin is how I have objected to the personal contact from God and refused to see these gifts as from God, but simply as objects for my own conversation with myself.

Praying about my pattern of sin centers my attention on what fears, what needs, what circumstances, and what demands are operating when I lose contact with the personal gifts around and within me. Actions flow from attitudes, and such fears and hungers break out into acts that we can call personal sin, but they actually are impersonal as well. Simply stated, I forget or choose not to regard everything as personally offered by the personal God. We pray this week with Jesus personally encountering those people who are honest enough to admit their sickness, disability, and injury. Before Jesus can meet them in a healing way, they have to have met themselves in a humbling way. They have to have faced the truth of their own personal condition.

In praying about our sin and patterns of being impersonal, we, like the prodigal son, have to come to our senses and return to ourselves first. Jesus meets those who have first met themselves.

It is extremely important for those considering the pat­terns of sin to do so while sitting at the feet of Jesus, where we can experience the personal touch of his compassionate eyes. To do such reflection on the patterns and history of our sin in isolation will lead only to further disgrace and self-rejection. Honesty is not humiliation, but a prelude to being engraced. True freedom is worth the time it takes to sit at his feet and be comforted in our discomfort.
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