Dang dude, that hurt. What did you do?”
The dentist look back at me in disbelief. He said “You have a massive cavity there. I must have hit the nerve. You obviously need a root canal.”
“A root canal?” I thought. “How come I didn’t feel any pain before the torture master hooked me up?” The dentist seemd to sense what I was thinking and answered my question before I could ask it: “The reason you probably didn’t feel it is because your gum had grown into the cavity. Your nerve was never exposed to the air and irritants in your mouth so you couldn’t do anything about it.”
And that was my introduction to the wonderful world of root canals. It wasn’t pleasant or fun. But it was necessary so that there could be something salvaged of my tooth.
That was over twenty years ago. My teeth haven’t improved much. I must have inherited someone’s bad teeth. Being diabetic doesn’t help either. One may say safely that I am intimately aware of the process involved in root canals. I’ve even had a soul canal too.
A soul canal is similar to what needs to be done when we sin. When we sin there is a cavity forming. Now we can choose to ignore it or allow the gum of excuses to grow into it and cover the damage done to us. That will work for awhile. But the sin will continue to grow.
Now the first thing I need to address is the fact that Christians do indeed sin. With all due respect to Mr. Wesley, we are not perfected in this life. Our perfection awaits us in the life to come. Since we are still imperfect individuals we can expect to sin and mess up. This isn’t ideal of course, but it is true. And it is reality. If you need proof that Christians sin, hang out with me for a day. I’m not proud of that fact, but I;m not going to hide from it either.
So what do we do when we sin?
“If we confess our sins, He is righteous and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NASB
When, not if, but WHEN we sin we need to confess them. This word confess is important to understand because we could easily misinterpret it if we are not careful. The Greek word translated confess is homolegeo. Homolegeo basically means to “say the same thing.” SO when we sin, we confess. But confession is not something we necessarily do in front of another person. No, if I understand homolegeo correctly, we name our sins the same way that God names them: they’re sins! They are not mistakes, blunders, poor judgments, etc. We don’t make excuses for them, we see them the same way that God sees them. When we do this we are indeed connected with God in a very deep way.
“He who confesses and condemns his sins already acts with God.
God condemns thy sins: if thou dost also condemn them, thou
art linked with God.” –Augustine
When we confess – when we name sin the same way God does – we demonstrate our linkage with God. We do not hide our sin or excuse it away. We name it sin, rely on God to cleanse us and then move on. Think about how our lives would be transformed if we just internalized this truth. God will cleanse us. God isn’t waiting to club us with His hammer or hit us with a lightening bolt when we sin. No, He is waiting for us to recognize our sin the same way He does. Once we do this, He cleanses us.
When we sin there is a cavity forming. Now we can choose to ignore it or allow the gum of excuses to grow into it and cover the damage done to us. That will work for awhile. But the sin will continue to grow. Believer me, I know. Eventually that sin will grow and grow until God has no other choice but to perform a Soul Canal on us, just like I needed a root canal because of ignoring pain in my teeth. When God performs a Soul Canal on us, we can expect it to be less pleasant that the root canal a dentist performs. But is is more than necessary.
So how are you doing recognizing sin in your life? Do you even recognize it? If not, you need to do a little inventory into what you believe.
One thought on “The Soul Canal”
Thank you for this enlightening post. I always wondered the implications of “confess” in 1 John 1:9, especially since this is a pivotal verse used by those who would promote verbal confession to a church authority. The “soul canal” goes on, it’s true, though it would be nice to be perfect even in Wesleyan theoretics, or should I say problematics? 🙂