I’m in the middle of a great book. I recommend it. The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski is an excellent book on spiritual renewal and growth. It’s not a speed-read. It is thought-provoking and quite challenging. I highly recommend it.
It digs deeper than the feel-goods I usually enjoy reading. It explores beyond the typical, everyday sort of religious conversations into mapping out spiritual practice.
Recently, I read a chapter on confession. The practice of confession serving as a healing point for our hearts and minds. In the particular religious construct I find myself a part of, confession is a private and personal moment between God and me.
I wonder how many times, though, I am ashamed to truly confess or become too busy for true confession. There are two components to confession.
One is coming clean before God and the other is coming clean before others.
Can we really believe confession is beneficial?
Frederick Buechner said,
“To confess your sins to God is not to tell him anything he doesn’t already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the bridge.”
This is powerful. I often find that I too often offer blanket confession before God.
Sometimes, a one-size-fits-all type of confession. “Lord, forgive my sin.” There is beauty in this, but I have to think it isn’t always enough. It is good to be specific and honest with ourselves and with God. I have noticed when I am open and honest, my openness to His work on my behalf increases.
In recent months, when I have been honest about my sin, say of unforgiveness, and I name it for what it is and ask for His help in conquering it, I notice a change in me. I see His hand working and sense He is ready to help.
Honestly, I miss this too often. I get busy or lose track, but He is showing me His faithfulness every time.
Let’s take this one step further.
Can you imagine how our spiritual and mental health would improve if we were able to make confession to someone safe as well? To be able to safely unload our shame. And in this way, not carrying our burden alone.
The Bible speaks of confessing our sins to one another.
How many of us ever feel safe enough to confess any of our shortcomings and sins to other people? Our culture is too caught up in having it together. And, let’s face it, often, we know our sin can and will be used against us.
Many times we find the self-righteous Believers among us and this quickly shuts down the conversation. But, I want us to consider true confession as a pathway to a whole and sound life.
This is where our self-righteousness (in ourselves and towards others) needs to fall by the wayside. God sees our suffering in sin as like a cancer. It is eating away at us and must be handled. It is not out of vengeance or anger He looks upon us, but, it is with compassion and mercy. He knows it is killing us.
And, He has the cure.
He hates sin. He hates the death it is bringing. He doesn’t hate us.
In His love, He is calling us to Him so He can heal us and make us whole. So, confession, while initially seems vulnerable and unpleasant, is the answer to our pain. Pulling our sin out of the darkness and flushing it with light, destroys the hold it has over us. The enemy of our souls thrives in the dark; secret sins have no power over us when they are brought into the light.
Our sin, which causes a breach, will soon become the bridge after we open wide our hearts to Him and His inspection. As a recovering perfectionist, I hate to be wrong or make mistakes. Not just because it means I am wrong, but because, it means somewhere in this heart of mine, I am flawed.
I don’t like being flawed. But, I am. We all are.
This Savior sees and knows our weakness and failings. Let’s be honest and open with Him and with the safe people in our lives. Healing comes when we open our hearts and sweep out the junk we’ve swept into a corner.