by John Holbrook Jr.
A Biblical View, posted May 22, 2017
The Scriptures tell us to examine ourselves periodically to identify our sins, repent of them, and ask God to help us avoid repeating them in the future. I wrote this Examen for my own use. Thus it contains sins to which I might be tempted. You the reader can use my Examen as a guide, but you should write your own.
Lord, I acknowledge that I am a miserable sinner. As I examine all that I thought, said, and did since my last confession, help me to identify and repent of each instance in which I sinned against you and your holy laws. If I transgressed against another person, help me to acknowledge my fault and to make appropriate restitution.
As I contemplate my imperfections, I recall your admonition, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (KJV-Matthew 5:48). Although that seems impossible to me, you also said, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (KJV-Matthew 19:26). Peter wrote to the saints in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, “…the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, [will] make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (KJV-1 Pet 5:10). Remove my imperfections, Lord, that your perfect work in me bear such perfect results.
Examen Through the Prism of The Ten Commandments
First: I am the Lord your God:…you shall have no other gods before me.
Did I put anyone or anything above you in my thoughts, words, and deeds? Did I trust in anyone but God-the-Father for the ordering of my life? Did I trust in anyone or anything but God-the-Son for the redemption of my life – both in time and in eternity? Did I trust in anyone or anything but God-the-Holy Spirit for the regeneration and sanctification of my life? Did I, from pride, put my trust in any of God’s gifts to me – all unearned and undeserved by me: my birth; my person; my character; my knowledge and competence; my possessions; my spiritual life; my destiny?
Second: You shall not make for yourself an idol.
Did I place undue importance on anyone or anything that might in anyway supplant or even weaken my worship of and trust in you: social position; comeliness, health, intelligence, strength, or prowess; goodness or integrity; knowledge or professional competence; wealth or material possessions; fame or honor – even spiritual knowledge, experience, and maturity?
Third: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
Did I refer to or address you disrespectfully or even carelessly: in my conversations; in my writings; in my prayers; even in my thoughts? Did I take you for granted in any way, accepting your gifts without gratitude or assuming your approval of whatever I chose to do? Did I ask you to do my will, rather than to help me do your will?
Fourth: Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God.
Monday-Saturday: Did I neglect any work which you gave me to do today? Was I less than diligent in the work I did do? Sundays: Did I neglect the sabbath rest, fail to attend worship service, or engage in any godless activities today?
Fifth: Honor your father and your mother that your life may be long.
Did I dishonor my parents in any thought, word, or deed? Did I refer disrespectfully or even carelessly to anyone whom you have put in authority over me: an ecclesiastical elder; a secular boss; a civil magistrate? Did I even tell the truth about them unnecessarily?
Sixth: You shall not murder.
Did I get angry, annoyed, or even impatient with anyone? Did I attack anyone with deed, word, or even thought? Did I tell the truth about someone unnecessarily, thereby injuring him in another’s eyes? If I was attacked or injured by another, did I fail to turn my other cheek and pray for him?
Seventh: You shall not be sexually impure.
Did I allow my hands, my eyes or even my thoughts to linger too long or longingly on a woman other than my wife?
Eighth: You shall not steal.
Did I take anything from another: an object, no matter how small; a word, no matter how commonplace; an acclaim, no matter how slight? Did I envy another, recognizing that he had something I would never have, and begrudging him the possession of it?
Ninth: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Did I say anything untrue about another? Did I exaggerate a truth? Did I even tell the truth unnecessarily?
Tenth: You shall not covet.
Was I discontent with anything that you have given to me in the way of worldly fame, fortune, food, friends, and fun? Did I seek more unnecessarily? Did I seek more recognition or higher position? Did I seek greater wealth? Did I eat more than I needed? Did I buy more books, clothing, food, furniture, etc. than I needed? Did I desire the attention of people who pay me no heed? Did I long to go somewhere or do something that my current circumstances would not permit? Did I fail to be generous to anyone less fortunate than myself?
Examen Through the Prism of The Seven Deadly Sins
Lord, sometimes I miss the full implications of your commandments. As I study The Seven Deadly Sins and their opposites, help me to see my failures in this regard. (Click on the following link: Examen Table.)
© 2017 John Holbrook Jr.