Saturday, September 22, 2007

Keeping Short Accounts

It really is freeing. Getting rid of all our superfluous stuff makes the days run smoother and creates a peace in me that is addictive. After a season of thorough decluttering, I want to always live like this! Without the follow-up step to decluttering ~ that of keeping the stuff out ~ I will surely not.

Our season of Teshuva is drawing to a close, after much soul-searching and house-cleaning of a different sort. We have, as a family, spent much time clearing the air, cleaning spiritual and relational slates through repentance. Those longstanding, nagging little things that haunt our spirits, weigh us down and beg to be brought into the light have been our focus - those 'little sins', never confessed, that hinder our joy in the Lord. Time alone does not make all things new again. Through writing letters, making phone calls, and having long heart-to-heart talks, we have sought and extended forgiveness, and, in the process, found restoration. The decluttering is done.

The question that arises now, is how to keep the decluttering done. We have made extensive new policies in our home to keep physical clutter from coming back in, but how do we keep spiritual and relational clutter from finding it's way back? Life happens...sinners collide, and offenses are a natural result. This forty day season of repentance has been rich for us, and, after this, our first year of observing it, we are unanimous in our desire to do it again. It was profitable for us to spend forty days focusing on getting right with our Father and our fellow man. However, I personally do not wish to have thirty-plus years of baggage to have to clear out again. My desire is to put a stake in the ground...right here...right now...and resolve to keep things current.

The answer for me comes in keeping short accounts.

There were several things that I had to make right that were small issues ~ things that I did not feel quite right about at the moment of occurrence, but had allowed to 'slide' instead of confessing and asking forgiveness immediately. Contemplating the wasted energy I spent thinking about these minor offenses over the years makes me ill. I have heard it said that the Holy Spirit will speak to you in a whisper, or, if you ignore Him, will eventually throw a brick at you. That you have a choice...obey the whisper or wait for the brick. I haven't meditated much on the theological aspect of that , or whether it is accurate, but it certainly is motivating. Looking back, I am painfully aware that I should have heeded the whisper.

Keeping short accounts is all about heeding the whisper. When the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, my place is to immediately confess and repent. Whether I am angry, lazy, prideful or selfish, I need to confess the instant I am aware of the sin ~ the instant the Holy Spirit whispers. I have to force myself to drop everything ~ right that minute ~ and ask forgiveness. It is the best method I have ever used for my part in putting my own sin to death. It is also the most humbling, which I suspect is the reason it works so well.
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives" 1John 1:8-10.

Just as surely as we cannot cleanse ourselves, Yeshua can. So the order of the day, today, as every day, is a walk of obedient trust...heeding His voice, obeying His commands, and trusting in His cleansing.

Because it is so good to be clean.


  1. Shalom has been in the habit, for the past several months now, of confessing every sin or act of disobedience that he can think of. I've been hearing a lot about a little boy who I thought was much more well-behaved than he might truly be. It's been good for the rest of us because he has been our role-model. I have had to call my parents and seek forgiveness for my rebellious childhood, which was good. I knew I was already forgiven yet I had never asked for it.

    I am blessed to hear that you are teaching your children this and that they are getting it! Some of our teens didn't get it at all, and this isn't their first Teshuva season. I'm heartbroken that some of our teens simply don't 'get it' when it comes to our faith, they seem to be interested in the "neat" and "unique" and "different". *sigh* Needless to say there wasn't as much asking for forgiveness in our home this past season as there needed to have been. Maybe if we had found the truth sooner...

    But that's not why I wrote. I'm also glad that your children (and ours who "get it") are learning how to extend forgiveness. I hadn't ever thought about that till I was on the phone with someone whose forgiveness I was seeking. The conversation kept turning from my apology to their justification for why I sinned to wallowing in their own mire. It wasn't intended to be a contest for who was the worst sinner...

    Just as it's important to ask forgiveness, it is equally important to extend forgiveness.

  2. I think Phil has been the one surprised around here. He's been hearing more than he had surmised from that *sweet little wife* of his. Gulp.

    About Shalom...I have four girls of varying ages...I wonder how he feels about arranged marriages? (snicker...just kidding)

  3. LOL Well, I might have to run that past Wes and see what he thinks first. ;)

    Then again, Shalom is 12. I think that might go over like a lead balloon.



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