September 2, 2009
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
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New York's 10-year-old Clementine Lee is a young lady who likes classical music and has played the violin since she was four.
Clementine Lee is also an entrepreneur.
For the last year she and her father have been planning on selling lemonade in a park near their home. When beautiful weather came to New York, they set up their stand.
Business was good. In 20 minutes they sold 10 glasses of lemonade and most of the dozen chocolate chip cookies they had baked.
That's when disaster struck. Three agents of the Parks Department surrounded them and demanded to see their permit to sell. The father confessed they didn't have the necessary piece of paper.
That's when they shut down the father-daughter team and served the two a $50 ticket.
Dozens of people were outraged, and I was, too, when I first read the story. But then I read an update. The New York City Commissioner of the Department of Parks & Recreation, Adrian Benepe said, "The ticket would be set aside, the agent would be re-trained on rules and regulations and he would personally love to have a glass of Clementine's lemonade."
Good move, Mr. Benepe! Apparently, he is a man who understands a confession can often change things. In this case, Mr. Benepe's confession has changed a public-relations nightmare into some solid goodwill for the Department of Parks & Recreation.
Sadly, too many people have too much pride to follow Mr. Benepe's example. They refuse to apologize to another person, and they most definitely won't confess their sins to God. Indeed, they feel the Lord is being pretty pushy expecting them to make confession.
They miss the point, don't they? The Lord knows the gravity of our sins, and He sent His Son to live, die, and rise to take our sins away. When folks minimize and ignore their sins, they minimize the sacrifice.
On the other hand, when we confess our sins, we admit the intensity of our need and the immensity of God's grace. This is why, in our prayer today, we make this confession:
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, be merciful to me a sinner. Forgive what I have done wrong and the many times I have done those wrongs. Thank You for the sacrifice of the Savior and accept my joy at sins which are no more. Because of Jesus may this day be blessed and lived in thanksgiving and joy. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries