I feel very penitent today. So much so, that I think it is important to post about the order of service of Individual Confession and Forgiveness beginning on page 196 of the Lutheran Book of Worship.
"O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.
Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice,
but you take no delight in burnt offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your lovingkindness;
in your great compassion blot out my offenses.
Wash me through and through from my wickedness,
and cleanse me from my sin." (Ps. 51:16-18, 1-2).
From that point onward, a person says a few other very important things about being free in Christ to confess the sins of which she is aware and the sins that trouble her.
I have found myself lately to be sinful in my relationship to someone I say I love. Instead of seeking healing for our damaged relationship, I seek to further myself from her. Instead of helping her, I try to avoid her. I do not love or honor her as my Lord charges me to do, but I merely focus on how I feel about her situation, and do not try to see her life and illness in the manner in which she sees it. I am guilty of being selfish and narrow, unkind and dismissive, and unable to rectify this situation at my own behest.
"For all this I am sorry and I pray for forgiveness. I want to do better." LBW 196.
Penitence. Lent. Forgiveness. This season of the Church year makes me ever more aware of the days of hell that I made my Lord endure because of this sin, and every other sin I've ever committed. It is my prayer that my penitent heart might be pleasing to the One in whose name I strive to serve.