Nope. I’m not confessing. Well okay I’ll confess. I didn’t do my LifeJournal today, true confession. I ate one of Lynn’s rice krispee bars, even though I’m trying to eat healthy and I annoyed my daughter, true confession. I’m way behind on responding to my e-mail, not sure if that’s a sin, but it is a true confession. True confession, I have too many credit cards, Dave Ramsey would call that a sin wouldn’t he? I know, you are pondering the amazing emotional courage and the raw authenticity that comes through in such true confessions. No, probably not.
I was talking to someone today about the dynamics of confession and repentance. (Confession is simply agreeing with God’s assessment of my actions. Repentance is changing my path back to a God-ward direction.) We were talking about the power of public confession and our general reluctance to do so… Decades ago, one of my heroes of the faith, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a small book called Life Together. It was a guide to authentic community for an underground seminary during the Nazi regime. The last chapter is called, Confession and Communion.
In it he asks the question, “Why is it so easy to confess sin to our most Holy God, and yet we cannot confess to a fellow sinner?” Bonhoeffer suggests the possibility that often our confessions reach no higher than ourselves and we in turn absolve and forgive ourselves. In confession to a fellow Christian we break out of the circle of self-deception, for we know that we have come face to face with Christ existing as community. Bonhoeffer is not suggesting that we go to a priest for confession and absolution of our sins. He makes it clear that we do indeed have direct access to God through Jesus Christ, who in turn forgives us. Yet he is stressing that in God’s plan for the “body”, community is for confession, and confession leads to community.
So back to true confessions? Do you have someone — or a group of someone’s, like a LifeGroup — with whom you can come clean. And I’m not talking about, rice-krispee bar confessions. I’m talking about the kind of stuff that has a dangerous hold on our lives. The kind of stuff that James was probably talking about when he said, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other, so that you can be healed.”
Don’t worry. I’m not working up to one of those ministry-breaking-see-all-pastors-are-slimy confessions, but I do sin. And True Confession — true confession is not easy…but then again good things rarely are.
I ran across this blog post tonight. Thought provoking… take a moment and read “Confessing Safe Sins.”