I have greatly appreciated the feedback from my Catholic readers about my 2nd confession and the struggles I had after it. I have been pondering my post-confession emotions since the event (haha I need to stop over analyzing...but in this case I guess it was necessary) and tried to figure out why I was so uneasy about the whole thing. I prayed about it a lot...just to ease the shame that followed me like a dark cloud. But out of no where I got this inner voice-revelation moment, as if God was telling me "Now you see how grave sin is".
When I sin I should feel disgusted and ashamed, and sometimes I do, but for the most part I quickly ask for forgiveness in prayer and move on. But those "little" sins are not so little in the grand scheme of things. Lies here and there become habits, gossip can hurt those around you deeply, fighting with your parents creates divides, and so on and so forth. Not only do we harm ourselves and our neighbors, but we crucify our Savior each time we sin. He had to die for our selfishness, our evil choices, and for us to choose sin, literally kills Him. A lot of you already know this...and probably have an easier time controlling yourselves than I seem to. I kept telling myself "oh that sin is little, you'll do better next time", but the next time was normally not better.
On 19 Kids & Counting (my favorite go-to example), Josh made a comment that he needed to keep himself accountable and if he had a hard time with something, even something mental, he would quickly tell his parents so that sin did not get the best of him. This habit made him stay on his toes and always be mindful of his choices...or else he'd have to confess them to mom & dad.
At first this sounded stupid to me...I would never admit my sins to my parents, especially my deepest, darkest ones. I have (unfortunately) grown out of my guilt phase of childhood where I would feel compelled to unload my antics to my parents. In our culture, once you become an adult, you have more freedoms. "You've been "raised" now make the right decisions" philosophy. But usually, we "adults" go the opposite way...our freedom is like a secret lair and we can hide our wrongs without fear of any real consequence from mom & dad. No one has to know what we do, so why feel shame? It's secret!
But God still sees us.
So after seeing the priest the other night, I realized the Duggar form of accountability wasn't stupid, but essential to a true Christian walk. We should feel shameful when we sin, whether a big or small mistake, sin is a statement to God that you don't fear Him and you don't feel the need to follow His ways. That's heavy stuff!! How could we treat our Perfect, Blameless Creator in such a way without feeling extreme guilt? How are we not more mindful of our choices?
Because we cannot see God...He feels so distant sometimes that it's like mom or dad's backs are turned...it's ok to mess up. However, He is always watching...every single one of us at every single minute of the day (what an insane job!).
You have a way out of temptation ("No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
1 Corinthians 10:13) And when the time comes when the choice between sin and righteousness is too difficult to make, the idea of having to tell another person your decision is a powerful saving tool. No one wants to admit embarrassing details...and accountability prevents that. I finally understand. I guess I always have...but not to this extent, and now I can honestly say the payoff is big. I do feel lighter...I feel closer to my Savior because I now recognize the pain I caused Him. I needed that little bit of discomfort & embarrassment to appreciate His cross more. I feel re-directed and renewed. I just feel like a better version of myself...a better follower of Christ.
I am no where near perfect, none of us are. I know a lot of people who have given up on their salvation because they have already sinned so much...and have done so many disgusting things...that they think God will never accept them again, why bother? I just want to encourage everyone that you can and will be accepted again if you repent & confess. You may feel discouraged that you cannot stay on the straight & narrow either, as temptations are strong, but this whole new world of confession & accountability is life changing & life saving.
God wants us sinners, even the worst of us. He just wants us to realize what our choices do to Him. So wake up Catholics/Christians...this is a war, but we can triumph over it by the graces God has given us. Stay strong, stay mindful, stay accountable.