Admitting what we have done wrong is difficult.  It is easier to just rush past our mistakes or to bury them.  Yet when we do that the hurt goes unhealed and we really aren't able to move on 'cleanly'.  Instead we carry a burden of sorrow, guilt, anger or pain.  Not to mention the brokenness we have dealt to others.  In response to the need to face the wrong we have done many faiths set aside a special time of reflection and examination.  I have put together a 25 day workbook/devotional to encourage this self-examination. You will find it below.  I have also put together three worship experiences for this 25 day period as well (day 1, 16 & 25).  If this is something you would like to use I have it in a word document that is print ready that I can email you (for free of course) both the devotional booklet and worship experiences. 


Journey of 
Self-Examination and Reflection

A 25 day pathway
toward confession,
restoration and wholeness

by Rev. Stephen Wallace



Psalm 130: 1-5:

Lord, I cry out to you because I'm suffering so deeply. 
Lord, listen to me. Pay attention to my cry for your favor. 
Lord, suppose you kept a record of sins. 

Lord, who then wouldn't be found guilty? 
But you forgive. So people have respect for you. 
With all my heart I wait for the Lord to help me. 
I put my hope in his word.

One of the hardships of life comes when we have said or done things to damage our relationships with others. The immediate damage or brokenness is bad enough to experience, but often we don’t know what to do to set things right, or we hesitate to do what we know is needed,  and so the brokenness continues to cause pain.  This
program is to encourage us to stop neglecting or ignoring the work we need to do to put the pieces back together or to stop the bleeding.  It encompasses 25 days in which an individual reflect on his/her life to identify the wounds
caused and steps that can be taken to confession the wrong done, repair what can be repaired, as well as to do something to show the sorrow for the wrong done. It includes at least one scripture passage to reflect on  each day and questions to help focus you on what you  need to do.  We all need to take time and put in the effort to heal what pain we have caused and to try to restore
what we have torn apart.  I hope that this workbook will help you do just that.

                         May God lead us in this effort,
                                    Rev. Stephen Wallace
                                    August 2011

*****

A Season for Confession, Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Day 1: Our Brokenness

Romans 3: 10-18
It is written, "No one is right with God, no one at all.
No one understands. No one trusts in God.
All of them have turned away. They have all become worthless.
No one does anything good, no one at all."
"Their throats are like open graves. With their tongues they tell lies."
"The words from their lips are like the poison of a snake."
"Their mouths are full of curses and bitterness."
"They run quickly to commit murder.
They leave a trail of failure and pain.
They do not know the way of peace."
"They don't have any respect for God."


Do you accept or reject the assessment of us in Romans 3?  Why?

When you hear that you are ‘broken’ what do you think are feel?

How do you think or feel that you are ‘broken’?

Scripture teaches that there is real pain, destruction and punishment that result from sin.  Where do you see or feel that ‘judgment’? 

 *****

Day 2: God’s Response                    

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die?’

Luke 15:10  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Acts 3:19  Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord 

Romans 2:4  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

2 Corinthians 7:9  Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us 

2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

 
What do you feel about God’s response to our sinfulness as reflected in these passages?  

Why do you think God feels this way about you? 

What implications do these Scriptures have for what we do in our relationships? 


 *****

Day 3: Our Response to Brokenness

Leviticus 6:2-5
"Suppose a person sins by not being faithful to me. He does it by tricking his neighbors. He tricks them in connection with something they have placed in his care. He steals from them. Or he cheats them. Or he finds something they have lost and then tells a lie about it. Or he goes to court. He takes an oath and tells a lie when he witnesses about it. Or he commits any other sin like those sins. "When he sins in any of those ways, he becomes guilty. He must return what he stole. He must give back what he took by cheating his neighbors. He must return what they placed in his care. He must return the lost property he found. He must return anything he told a lie about when he witnessed in court. He must pay back everything in full. He must add a fifth of its value to it. He must give all of it to the owner on the day he brings his guilt offering.

Ezekiel 18:30-32 "Repent! And turn from all your transgressions, so iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, by which you have transgressed; and get a new heart and a new spirit. For why will you die? For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn [from you evil ways] and live!" 

Matthew 3:2  Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 3:8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 

We are called to not just recognize the brokenness we have created but to do something about it.  We are to mend the wounds, relieve the pain, and to restore good to what had been marred.  How have you worked to repair brokenness you have caused? 
 

What impact have those efforts made? 


What impact has the absence of efforts to repair the brokenness had?



*****

Day 4: Self-Examination/Reflection on interaction with Strangers

Deuteronomy 10: 17-19
The Lord your God is the greatest God of all. He is the greatest Lord of all. He is the great God. He is mighty and wonderful. He treats everyone the same. He doesn't accept any money from those who want special favors. He stands up for widows and for children whose fathers have died. He loves outsiders. He gives them food and clothes. So you also must love outsiders. Remember that you yourselves were outsiders in Egypt.
 

What brokenness has happened in your interactions with strangers? 

 
What part did you play in the brokenness strangers experienced?


What specifically do you need to confess about the wounds and brokenness you caused?



*****

Day 5: Reflection on the Repentance and Restitution needed for Strangers

Jeremiah 22:3
The Lord says, "Do what is fair and right. Save those who have been robbed. Set them free from the people who have treated them badly. Do not do anything wrong to outsiders or widows in this place. Do not harm children whose fathers have died. Do not kill those who are not guilty of doing anything wrong.

What Restitution do you need to make to Strangers?

What Repairing needs to happen?

How will you go about making those Repairs or paying Restitution to Strangers hurt?



*****

Day 6: Self-examination and Reflection on interaction with Acquaintances
             
Proverbs 16: 29 A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good.

What brokenness has happened in interactions with Acquaintances?

What part did you play in the brokenness Acquaintances experienced?

What specifically do you need to confess about the wounds and brokenness you caused?

*****

Day 7: Reflection on the Repentance and Restitution needed for Acquaintances

Leviticus 19:18  Do not try to get even. Do not hold anything against one of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord.   What Restitution do you need to make to Acquaintances?
                    
What Repairing needs to happen?

                         
How will you go about making those Repairs or paying Restitution to Acquaintances hurt?



*****

Day 8: Self-examination and Reflection on interaction with Friends

Proverbs 16: 28 A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends

Proverbs 17: 9 Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

What brokenness has happened in interactions with Friends?

What part did you play in the brokenness Friends experienced?

What specifically do you need to confess about the wounds and brokenness you caused?

*****

Day 9: Reflection on the Repentance and Restitution needed for Friends

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.


What Restitution do you need to make to Friends?

What Repairing needs to happen?

How will you go about making those Repairs or paying Restitution to Friends hurt?

*****

Day 10: Self-examination and Reflection on interaction with  Co-Workers

Proverbs 30:33  For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.”

Proverbs 14:21  It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor

What brokenness has happened in interactions with Co-Workers?

What part did you play in the brokenness Co-Workers experienced?

What specifically do you need to confess about the wounds and brokenness you caused?



*****

Day 11: Reflection on the Repentance and Restitution needed for Co-Workers

Proverbs 28:30  Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

What Restitution do you need to make to Co-Workers?


What Repairing needs to happen?

How will you go about making those Repairs or paying Restitution to Co-Workers hurt?

*****

Day 12: Self-examination and Reflection on interaction with Family

Proverbs 11:29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.

Proverbs 17:19  Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin;

Ephesians 6:4   Fathers, do not exasperate your children;

What brokenness has happened in interactions with Family?

What part did you play in the brokenness Family experienced?

What specifically do you need to confess about the wounds and brokenness you caused?


******

Day 13: Reflection on the Repentance and Restitution needed for Family

Matthew 7: 3-5  “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Ephesians 5: 21-25 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

What Restitution do you need to make to Family?


What Repairing needs to happen?

How will you go about making those Repairs or paying Restitution to Family hurt?


*****

Day 14: Self-examination and Reflection on interaction with God

Psalm 51:3-4 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight

I John 1:8  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

What brokenness has happened in your interactions with God?

What part did you play in the pain God experienced?

What specifically do you need to confess about the wounds and brokenness you caused?


*****

Day 15: Reflection on the Repentance and Restitution needed for God

Psalm 32: 5-6  I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”  And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found;

What Restitution do you need to make to God?


What Repairing needs to happen?

How will you go about making those Repairs or paying Restitution to God?



*****

A Season for Confession, Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Part II: A Time of Confession and Action

Confession is an admission of the brokenness we have caused and the wounds we have inflicted.  Confession is meant to restore health and to open the possibility of reconciliation.  In reflecting over whether to confess and how to confess, the well-being of others needs to be a high priority. Our response to the brokenness (confession, restitution and restoration) we have caused is to bring about blessings and not pain. So in confessing we must be very careful to choose when, to whom, and how to confess.

Day 16: Seeking God’s Help and Committing to Action

Proverbs 14:22-23: Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.  

James 2:14-18:  What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

We are called not just to be sorry but to set things right.  It is tempting to not take action but for the wholeness, healing and blessings to come there must not just be a desire but be action.  What keeps you from acting in the situations where you have caused brokenness? (Perhaps list situations with the particular barrier to it):

What can you do to remove the ‘barrier(s)’ you face? 

 *****

Day 17: Action for Strangers

Titus 3:14: Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.

 

Many needs of strangers are caused by our actions or lack of them.  What can you do to help with the urgent needs you see or hear about?

 

Review the brokenness you have caused to Strangers and the suggested ways of repenting and making restitution to them you listed on Day 4 and 5. 

 

Add any additional thoughts and then make specific plans (date, place, words/actions) that you will take in the next few days (if possible and appropriate) to make amends.




*****

Day 18: Action for Acquaintances

3 John 1:11:  Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

Where are you tempted to imitate what is evil in how you interact with others?  Why?

How can you imitate what is good?

Review the brokenness you have caused to Acquaintances and the ways of repenting and making restitution to them you listed on Day 6 and 7. 

Add any additional thoughts and then make specific plans (date, place, words/actions) that you will take in the next few days (if possible and appropriate) to make amends.

*****

Day 19: Action for Friends

I Thessalonians 5: 15: Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

Is there anywhere you have paid (or are considering paying) back wrong for wrong?

What is the pull of that temptation to hit back?

Review the brokenness you have caused to Friends and the ways of repenting and making            restitution to them listed on Day 8 and 9. 

Add any additional thoughts and then make specific plans (date, place, words/actions) that you will take in the next few days (if possible and appropriate) to make amends.



*****

Day 20: Action for Co-Workers

Jeremiah 6:16:  “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

At what ‘crossroads’ have you stood with co-workers and what were the pathways that you had to chosen between?  What did you choose?

Why?

What are the ‘crossroads’ you stand at now with co-workers?

Review the brokenness you have caused to Co-Workers and the ways of repenting and making restitution to them listed on Day 10 and 11. 

Add any additional thoughts and then make specific plans (date, place, words/actions) that you will take in the coming week (if possible and appropriate) to make amends.


*****

Day 21: Action for Family

2 Thessalonians 3: 13: And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

Especially with those we are closest to, it is easy to ‘tire’ of doing good and to stop doing the kindnesses or of giving grace.  Where have you ‘tired of doing what is good’ for your family members?

Review the brokenness you have caused to Family and the ways of repenting and making restitution to them listed on Day 12 and 13.

 Add any additional thoughts and then make specific plans (date, place, words/actions) that you will take in the coming days (if possible and appropriate) to make amends.

*****

Day 22: Action for God

Psalm 103: 8-13:
The Lord is tender and kind. He is gracious. He is slow to get angry. He is full of love. He won't keep bringing charges against us. He won't stay angry with us forever.  He doesn't punish us for our sins as much as we should be punished. He doesn't pay us back in keeping with the evil things we've done. His love for those who have respect for him is as high as the heavens are above the earth. He has removed our lawless acts from us as far as the east is from the west. A father is tender and kind to his children. In the same way, the Lord is tender and kind to those who have respect for him.

How have you shown respect for God?

How can you act to show even more respect and love for God?

Review the brokenness you have caused God and the ways of repenting and making restitution to them listed on Day 14 and 15. 

Add any additional thoughts and then make specific plans (date, place, words/actions) that you will take in the coming week (if possible and appropriate) to make amends.


*****

Day 23: Action for Yourself

Micah 6:8: What is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.


Where have you acted justly?  Unjustly?

Where have you loved mercy in how you treated others?  Failed to love mercy?

Where have you walked humbly in regard to others?  Walked without humility in your interactions?

Think about and jot down notes on the brokenness you have brought to your own life through bad habits, negative self images and destructive beliefs. 

 

Make specific plans (date, place, words/actions) that you will take in the coming days or weeks (if possible and appropriate) to bring cleansing of those destructive things and how you will seek to become what God has created you to be.



*****

Day 24: Checking our Attitude and Motivation

Romans 12:8:  Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

We are called to set right what was wrong, not for selfish reasons but out of love for God and for those that God cherishes.  What do you find as the driving force for your actions of confession, repentance and restoration?

Do you, or are you, learning to ‘hate evil’ such as is found in gossip, backbiting, cruel actions, disinterest in the needs or well-being of others, etc.?  If not what step can you take to grow to hate evil?

Are you ‘clinging to what is good’?  How or how not?  What helps you cling to good and what steps can you take to do it?

*****

Day 25: Celebrating the Grace of God and the Hope We Have

Psalm 103:8-13:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;


How does it feel to be given grace?

Think of a time when you received grace and describe the situation and the thoughts/feelings you had in response to it:

You have the opportunity to offer grace to others.  Having received it and been freed from the burden from having wronged others should give us compassion for others. Yet that is not always what takes place. We can either reject offering grace or choose to give it to others.  Who needs to be granted grace from you?  Will you give it?

*****

Wallace SC&W
www.wallaceresources.us

A non-profit company focused on resourcing congregations
and training church staff and leaders.

(405) 740-8800
swallacegs@aol.com

                                         8/2011


 

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