The holiday season seems to be a time of reflection for me. It’s a time to prepare for the New Year. Nothing transformative happens as I reflect, but I’m hopeful. I’m conservative and I’m uptight but I love God, and I love people, so I strive to leave room for Him to work. I try not to crowd God out with “my rules” for holy living. This is also called “self-righteousness.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about a friend of mine. The Blonde and I pray for him often at our kitchen table, but we see very little change in his life. He’s a lot like “the woman at the well.” We don’t think much about people like her in today’s culture. When John (John 4) wrote about who she was and what she did, it was really bad. Now, who she was and what she did has become normal for us. In that sense, sadly, the story has lost its context.

Here’s the truth. My friend and the woman at the well really aren’t much different than the rest of us. What I mean is our sin might be more socially acceptable or hidden better, but at the end of the day we all need to do business with God in the form of confession. I needed Jesus, and I need Jesus, right?!

My friend is afraid of what will happen if he follows Jesus beyond the doors of the church building. I get it. Fear can be a strong match for faith and sin can be a great security blanket. If you told the truth, you would say that you relate and you’re scared too.

Too many like to confess, “Oh, I’m a sinner. I sin every day.” I think that’s pride, at least it’s false humility, and I doubt God finds much pleasure in that statement. I guess for some acknowledging that they sin is a move in the right direction, maybe the next step is to say what the specific sin(s) is (are)? Is it hard to say, “I’m not just a sinner, but I have a problem with ____________.”

I had a friend named Mark, he's no longer with us, but Mark was a recovering alcoholic (he was a big-time Christian too), and I went with him to an AA meeting once. It was just like on TV, people stood up and said, “My name is Mark, and I’m an alcoholic.” There was something very authentic and liberating in those admissions. Can you imagine doing that at a “church meeting?” For those who want revival, there you go. He told me to tell you that.