If confession is good for the soul, why is there so little of it?
Is it because we can’t stand to see ourselves in a bad way? Do we plead ignorance or that we tried our best? Do we blame someone or something to avoid acknowledging our part in what went wrong? This is not confession; this is denial.
I am reminded that there is no way to take a slow, honest, reflective journey to Easter without understanding the part confession plays. We need to come clean with God. No matter what extenuating circumstances contributed, we need to own our part in self-serving attitudes and self-protecting denials. This is not beat-yourself-down confession. God never wins making us look bad.
Instead, it is more of a spiritual shower, a cleansing, a freeing. We never think twice about a daily shower, but don’t think we need daily confession. However, confession gives God more space to work in us. The more we are willing to admit where we failed to reflect acceptance, follow-through, self-control or whatever got in the way of God’s will; the more God trusts us with His messages, nudges, and work in His kingdom.
For us who are committed to following Christ, I have always believed that the war for our souls is won or lost in the small things more than some big spiritual failure.
Besides, confession isn’t just about failure. It is about
agreeing with God. It is agreeing about what God already knows. Confession clears the way for growth.
Confession is also about affirming faith. Confession of faith is our daily vote that God is in charge. About everything. That the small things in our days matter. We confess our need for God’s wisdom and direction in small things as well as big. We confess our confidence that He is working in and through all things to bring His good to our lives. And we confess where we have trouble seeing it.
Confession is being honest before God in every way. It grows humility and self-control. It opens the door to acceptance of ourselves because of the deep and completing acceptance we find from God. We all need to know that acceptance for it heals so many wounds and empowers life in His Spirit of Truth.
If we confess . . . God is faithful to forgive. (I John 1:9) Even as our hearts turn toward confession, God is already forgiving, healing, and empowering. It is a potent exchange and we are fools to live below its many gifts.
Today, may we return to God’s open arms and ready ear in our journey to the cross. May we confess that we don’t know enough about ourselves, our family, or our place in this world. May we confess our ignorance even though we try to act as if we know more than we do. And with a cleared and cleaned heart, let us make more space for God to fill us with what He knows. And that is the biggest gift of confession.