During Lent, one of the things we’ve been discussing with some of our friends here is the role of confession in our spiritual lives. Here are some commonly stated opinions on this subject.
1. Confession is a Catholic only thing, and the theology isn’t what I agree with.
2. Confession is something I did with Jesus once and now I’m covered.
3. Confession is something I do with Jesus when I sin (suggesting that no one else needs to know about it).
We think confession needs to be re-evaluated. Confession is part of healing in so many other parts of our world. Alcoholics Anonymous begin each meeting with the introduction, “My name is (fill in the blank), and I’m an alcoholic”. Stating the problem actually moves us towards solving the problem.
But that description is really weak and individualistic. My sin affects more than just me, it affects everyone. It’s a domino affect. I sin in anger, my son is yelled at, he harbors hurt feelings towards me, our relationship breaks down, he grows up with father issues, he projects it towards others in destructive ways. Enter the generational sin affect.
But confession to others can do more than just make me feel superior in my spirituality (which is a horrible problem that could come through). It actually begins a restorative process in relationships as well. When I confess to my son when I’ve been wrong, he hears me, he moves back towards me, he is given the chance to forgive me because I’m seeking it.
Let’s not be so naïve to think this is easy. You’re risking exposure to the other. But if we don’t risk anything, we never gain anything. It’s why we’re taught to invest our money vs. putting it into jars and burying it in the back yard.
Restoration will come from confession… it’s a painful process… but so is restoration and transformation!