In week 6 of the online retreat I’m doing, there’s a listing of questions that have really started my thinking wheels a-rollin’:
- What have I done?
- What have I failed to do?
- Almost instinctively?
- At each stage of my life?
- When, throughout my life, to this very day, have I acted independently of God?
- When did I make up my own rules?
- How have I been dishonest – to others, to myself?
- When was I cruel or abusive?
- Lustful and greedy in my desires for power, control, consumption, self gratification?
- To what degree have I rationalized and made excuses?
- How have I let my heart become cool, to God, to others?
- What evil continues, because of me?
- Who remains hurt or damaged because of my selfishness?
- How have I been deaf to the cry of the poor?
- Not wanting to get involved, convincing myself it wasn’t my responsibility?
- How have I insulated myself, lived in my own world, so I don’t get bothered by the needs of others?
- How does my comfort cost others?
- How have I failed to notice, to care, to investigate, to respond, to get involved, to seek for change?
- Do the poor have me as an advocate for them?
These questions have made me really think about how sin becomes woven into my life, how it permeates who I am and what I do. I picture a spider web, a beautiful photograph with the dew on it in the early morning hours, but a deadly trap to the fly that doesn’t see it later in the day. Sin has a way of getting into the deepest, darkest corners where I fail to dust regularly. It has a way of incorporating itself into my routine and making me comfortable. Well, that’s always been there, I think to myself. It must be an antique of some sort; of course it’s not clutter or junk or something that needs cleaned out. To that, God replies, often with a listing of questions that come up out of the blue (or out of a retreat I’ve decided to do). Sarah, let’s think about this.
“When did I make up my own rules?” God himself probably chuckles. Yeah, Sarah, when did you? Oh yeah, God, um, well. “Who remains hurt or damaged because of my selfishness?” Sarah, is there something you want to talk about? Oh yeah, God, um, well. Sarah, you need to take care of that. Oh yeah, God. You’re right. As usual.
Sarah, is there anything you want to tell me? Like in the confessional? Oh yeah, God. Yeah, I do. But I need your help to get there, as usual.