Opening a Vein
A devotional thought from Christian George for “Sacrifice and Salvation (Part 2)”
The famous novelist Ernest Hemingway said, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” What he’s saying is that writing requires intense vulnerability. It requires you to be able to practice a discipline that few of us take too seriously: confession.
The Bible tells us to confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9). But it doesn’t stop there. We also are instructed, “confess your sins to one another” (Jas. 5:16, HCSB, emphasis mine). Really? Why isn’t it enough to confess our sins to God? Isn’t His forgiveness the only one that really matters?
Not at all. In the Levitical code, we discover that God is just as concerned about our relationships with others as He is with our relationships with Him. In fact, the one depends upon the other. “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). That’s quite a statement, John! Are you really saying that our love for the Lord is conditioned upon our love for one another?
Jesus thought so. That’s why, in the Lord’s Prayer, He included the little clause, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12, emphasis mine). Summed up in these four words: “as we also have” is the entirety of Christianity. Jesus came to earth as a vulnerable baby who eventually opened His veins for us. As followers of Christ, we are called to be vulnerable to one another in opening our lives to those around us. Hemingway’s statement about writing is also true about living. There’s nothing to living. All you have to do is open your veins for one another.
Pause and Reflect:
• Why do you think the Jewish leaders were so astonished when Jesus touched those who were “unclean”? If God wanted the people of Israel to keep themselves ceremonially pure, why did Jesus “break” these laws?
• Have you ever practiced the spiritual discipline of confession? Why is this practice so foreign to us?
• Why does God desire us to be vulnerable to one another? What does the interior of a vulnerable person look like?