PHOTO – Ballygally, Co. Antrim, from the sea.

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

1 John 1:8-9 NLT




For many years I journeyed with a victim mentality. From a young age I remember my mother pointing out that the tortoise has a rock-hard shell on its back for a purpose. That is, self-defence. So as I explored life beyond the safety of my parental home, I had her words ringing in my ears, “Don’t forget the tortoise. Don’t stick your neck out, it may be cut off.” I’m certain this was intended as a positive encouragement on my life’s journey. Yet, there was a problem.

A tortoise can only make their way forward, however slowly, at the risk of sticking its neck out. So every forward movement is, in fact, loaded with risk. To remain shell-bound offers security from external threats, seen and, more importantly, unseen. Yet, to be in the shell is to atrophy and go nowhere. I instinctively chose atrophy ahead of forward movement. Every threat, seen and unseen, was to be avoided and I blamed my lack of progress in life upon the level of threat I imagined beyond my shell.

Imagine, in our age of terror atrocities, where there is a daily declared level of threat, if we determined to stay put in our homes for fear of becoming victim to a terror attack? The whole of society would come to a halt. What’s more, the space I failed to enter would be left free for the occupation and multiplication of terrorists. Society would surrender to terrorism without a single explosion required.

So while I know theologically the sin issue has been dealt with through Jesus, I remain a sinner, or fractured human being. I can choose to live God’s way, and equally, choose not to. My victim mindset can find many external threats to blame for my God-less behaviour, as Adam demonstrates (Genesis 3:10-12). I have to stick my neck out and confront, own and confess my sin.


Take time to confess your fears, weaknesses and all sin to God.


Lord, thank you for your justice, your faithfulness, your forgiveness.