Reflection by Scott Stoner
Today we will reflect on the first part of the Prayer of Confession:
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed.
When we think of sin, the first thought that comes to mind is likely some type of action that is hurtful or wrong in some way. The beginning of this prayer expands the understanding of sin to include thoughts and words, as well. For example, the sin of racism can be a thought, something we say, and/or something we do that is hurtful to another.
What I find enlightening about thinking that sin can be a thought, word, or deed is that it gives us insight into how sinful actions begin. An action, positive or negative, has its roots in a thought. If I think I have no responsibility to care for my neighbor who is struggling, then my actions or lack of actions will reflect that thought. If, on the other hand, I think I have a moral responsibility to care for my neighbor, then I am much more likely to take action in a way that aligns with that thought.
Extending this thinking to forgiveness, if I think that a conflict between myself and someone else is one hundred percent the other person’s fault, then my words and actions will reflect that. If, however, I realize that I have played a part in the conflict, then there is a greater chance that I will speak and act in a way that can lead to forgiveness and reconciliation. Given this insight, it makes sense that we confess our thoughts so that we can heal them before they become sinful words or actions.
Making It Personal: What do you think of the idea that a sin can be a thought, word, or deed? Do you see a connection between how we think and how we speak and act? Can you think of an example from your life of how thoughts, words, and deeds are connected?
Follow along with us this Lent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.