Saturday, March 5, 2016

Confession also seems to be a lot like composting
 I’m new at the formal sacrament of confession, but it seems to not only rid us of negatives, but also gives us an opportunity to develop exponentially stronger positives. My admittedly limited experience suggests that can happen if we seriously examine the patterns in our sin and consider what lies behind those patterns. God seems to honor that by helping us see how to deal with those things and by helping us start, and keep, doing what’s necessary to deal with them.  If we take the time and effort to work through that, we come out of the process much stronger than we started; we don’t just lose the negative drag of sin, we develop previously unexperienced positives that make us more fruitful for God than we were even before we sinned.  In other words, we go beyond being a cleaned version of our old selves to become even more capable/fruitful than we ever were before.

That seems to closely resemble the dynamic of turning weeds into compost. We pull the weeds to eliminate their negative impact on our garden, that happens as soon as they are pulled, and that’s good in its own right. But much more can happen if we take the further steps involved in turning the pulled weeds into compost. That turns them into something that makes our garden far more fruitful than it was before the weeds first sprouted.

There are also seem to parallels in the processes that yield those results. Both take work beyond the initial step of eliminating the negative and both take time.

It seems that the sinner must go beyond simple confession and engage in serious analysis and effort to realize those results. Moreover, they are not realized by simply resolving to avoid further sin; resolve must be supplemented with prayer, meditation, time in Scripture, and good works. Those seem to be essential ingredients that are needed in greater proportions than resolve. And those results are not achieved overnight; they accumulate over time as the progressively less sinful penitent works at changing his attitudes and actions in a variety of circumstances.

That resembles the process of turning weeds into compost. The weeds must not only be pulled; they must also be mixed with other things, and you usually need more of the other things than you need weeds. That results in a process that takes some time. Further, the mixture has to be repeatedly mixed up before it turns into compost.

Is that a perfect analogy? Probably not, but there do seem to be significant parallels. And am I sufficiently experienced in either fruitful confession or composting to pose it? That’s a good question, and I don’t know the answer myself.  But the parallels strike me as likely enough to put this out for consideration. Please think about it and come to your own conclusions.

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