Thoughts on Sin Cancer and Chemo-therapy for the soul. . .

Psalm 32

Blessed is the man whose sin is covered over by the Lord;
Whose transgressions are forgiven, whose guilt God does not record.
Blessed is the man whose sin is not imputed against him;
In whose spirit there is not found cruel deceit or willful sin.

When I held my sin inside me, and kept silent in my way,
Then my bones grew weak and wasted through my groaning all the day.
For Your hand was heavy on me; day and night, my strength did lapse;
Sapped away as in the heat of summer’s hot, lethargic grasp.

Then I told You of my sin and did not hide iniquity;
I said, “I’ll confess my trespass” – You forgave, purged guilt from me.
Therefore, let the godly pray to You while You may still be found;
Surely waters will not reach me, when with might they surge around.

For You are my place of hiding, You protect me from all strife;
And with songs of Your deliv’rance, You surround and keep my life.
“I will teach and will instruct you in the way that you should go;
I will counsel and watch o’er you, the right path to you I’ll show.”

Don’t be like the horse or mule which do not understand at all;
They must be controlled by bridle, will not come when you do call.
Many woes the wicked carry, but the Lord’s unfailing love
does surround the ones who trust Him; Sing! Rejoice in God above!


Anytime someone we love gets diagnosed with cancer we all have three major sequential questions: Question #1: Is it curable? The second question: Has it spread? Following surgery to remove cancer we ask the third question: Did they get it all?

One of the things I appreciate about Song #32 is the way it characterizes sin. So often we limit sin to categories of morality, of good and evil. It’s actually more than that. Sin is sickness. Sin is the cancer of the soul. It is fiercely malignant and unyieldingly terminal. Sin cancer actually gets  all of us in the end for sin is to death as free radicals are to cancer. The even bigger devastation of sin cancer is that it can actually kill us before we die.  Take another look at the second stanza above.

The good news: there is a remedy for cancer. The cure is confession. It actually has a 100% cure rate.

I used to think confession was a form of admitting what a loser I am. Somewhere along the way grace taught me better. Here’s my present working definition of confession: Agreeing with God about what is true. I confess that Jesus is Lord. True. I confess that I am a sinner.  True. It is an agreement made at the core of the core of who I am. See the third stanza above. Confession is not admission. Confession is not self-shaming. Confession is simple honesty about what is true about us. “Lord Jesus, I confess that I was unkind to my wife this morning. That was sin.” Confession is simple honesty before God that will lead to a life of integrity before others.

Song #32 teaches us that unconfessed sin is like a cancer of the soul. Unconfessed sin eats us alive. These 40 days provide an open door to walk through as concerns our honesty before God. Here’s a way in. Begin with a form of the most ancient prayer of all: the Kyrie Eleison, “Lord have mercy.” Consider engaging a form of the prayer known as “The Jesus Prayer.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

We will revisit this, but for now, just take it on like a mantra. Say it all the time, just under your breath. The specificity of confession will come. Consider this as though it were a round of chemo-therapy. Drip. Drip. Drip.

And don’t forget. It’s time to sing again. CLICK HERE

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

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