"If we claim to be sinless, we are self-deceived and strangers to the truth. If we confess our sins, he is just, and may be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every kind of wrong."1
Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the US Senate shared the following message in one of his monthly report letters some time ago:
"Sinners enjoy authentic fellowship. Saints don't.
"People who pose as saints aren't free to remove their masks. Under pressure to project conventional piety, they are unable to open up and share themselves.
"Upholding the traditional religious image, they remain invulnerable in human relationships because they dare not expose their real selves.
"They major in propositions rather than persons. They share their victories but never their failures. They congratulate one another in their little mutual admiration societies.
"Meeting head to head instead of heart to heart, they protect themselves against discovery, and ricochet against each other like marbles.
"The authentic saint is oblivious to his sainthood, is deeply aware of his unworthiness, sensitive to his failure, and confesses that he is a sinner.
"Which makes possible true fellowship.
"Sinners acknowledge their inadequacy, lean heavily on God's grace, and identify quickly with need in others.
"Recognizing that all men are sinners and are unwilling to hide from the truth, they share their weaknesses, confess their sins to one another, and do not fear vulnerability.
"They come together like grapes, crushed and fragrant, dependent upon each other and God."
As the Bible puts it, "God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to be sharing in his life while we walk in the dark, our words and our lives are a lie … But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, then we share together a common life, and we are being cleansed from every sin by the blood of Jesus his Son. If we claim to be sinless, we are self-deceived and strangers to the truth. If we confess our sins, he is just, and may be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every kind of wrong."2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be real with myself, with trusted friends and, above all, with you so that I will be an authentic Christian—and always walk in the light. And grant that others seeing Jesus in me will want him for him or herself. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 John 1:9 (NEB)(NIV).
2. 1 John 1:5-9 (NEB)(NIV).