National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer - "Confession"

November 14, 2017

This article by Free Church of Scotland Moderator Rev. Derek Lamont is the second in a four-part series to coincide with the National Day of Prayer on the 30th November. 

They say a week in politics is a long time - well it certainly has been recently for some of our political leaders as they have been, unwillingly, forced to recognise the biblical truth that they can ‘be sure that your sin will find you out’. (Numbers 32 v23). But lest we point the finger too enthusiastically, it is an uncomfortable truth for all of us.

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, called for a ‘clearing of the stables’ and there is no doubt that there has been a miserable culture of sexual ‘entitlement’ in the corridors of power.  It is ugly, disturbing and divisive.  It has also been exposed as the culture in Hollywood, in an equally troubling, but not unsurprising, set of revelations. In the same statement, she is right in saying that ‘it isn't actually about sex, it's about power, it is always about power.’  Power, autonomy and lack of accountability - with God nowhere to be seen.

The problem with the kind of confessions that have been forced from the guilty recently is that, for many, they seem to be borne from the regret of being found out, rather than a recognition of the ugliness of what they have done. It is surface-change not heart renewal.  And that, for all of us, is where things get close to home.  It is easy to point the finger - self-righteousness comes naturally, and we can be puritanically smug at the corruption that we think resides in others, but the Gospel is relentlessly challenging to us as Christians - and to an unbelieving world.  The bad news is that our hearts are broken, diseased and corrupt before God - he sees beyond the surface of our actions, and we all fall short. The biggest challenge for the church today is not to say ‘we told you so’ but to daily be confessing our own failings and faults - denominationally and individually - before the pure and perfect Holy One.  He knows our hearts, and He wants us to be changed so we love Him and others with the kind of love only he can give.  That is the good news.  Personal, heartfelt confession of our failure before the Lord, whose redeeming love has taken us from death to life, is the best of medicine. (See today's text from 2 Chron 7 v 14)  It sets us free, fills us with grace, humility and honesty and keeps us from the ugliness of thinking we are little gods.