There are a select handful of verses that any fundamentalist worth his sanctified salt can quote by heart. Among these is Psalm 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
The fundamentalist interprets these words to mean that even though a person is saved and has God as his Heavenly Father that any misstep will shut God’s ears to him and leave him without aid or succor in his time of need. Keeping “short accounts” with God is the only way to be sure that He’s listening when we call. (I recommend trying this with your kids too, it’s loads of fun to ignore their cries for help until they remember why you’re mad at them and apologize. Take that, kids!)
Did you fail to walk a mile to return the sixty-three cents that a clerk accidentally undercharged you? Don’t even think about praying for your daily bread until you confess and forsake. Did you have a moment of weakness and curse at a crazy motorist on the freeway? Good luck invoking Divine help if you should crash your car!
The rules of this breakdown in communication are unclear. If a person commits a sin at sixteen and then forgets about it, will God not hear him when he is sixty? Must each sin be named specifically and be brought for forgiveness or is a blanket request of “forgive us for all the other stuff we forgot” sufficient? Best to hedge your bets and repent as much as possible just in case.
The old account may have been settled long ago but according to fundamentalists, we’re still running up quite a tab. ConfessÂ early and often.