This chapter is pretty heavy, and I do not intend to delve too deeply into the theology. But what really struck me as I’ve read and pondered this chapter is how this discipline is really a component of corporate prayer. If you are not praying with other people, then the discipline of confession is probably not a part of your life. If you are meeting with one to two to three others, then I imagine that confession plays at least some role. I have two lovely women that I pray with once a month, and confession is not a formal part of what we do, but it is to some degree a natural part. I’m not saying we confess anything horrifyingly big or shocking, but in the natural course of us talking about what we might pray about, confession is implicit. There are a whole host of reasons why we should do this, but I want to focus on two.

Knowing You are NOT Alone
One of the great deceptions of Satan is to try to convince us that we are the only one who’s ever done or thought such a thing. But the Bible is clear: “no temptation has seized you except what is common to man.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) Through transparency and confession you quickly learn that other people have been tempted in the same way or even committed the same sins. Confession is a great way to combat that little voice that doesn’t want you forgiven, that beats you up mentally over and over again for the same transgression. Obviously, it is not that you can only be forgiven by telling another human being, but confessing it to someone else might be a great help with embracing the forgiveness that is already yours. And like Foster said, it is not just anyone that you’d want to do this with. So if you don’t have friends that listen to you, love you and pray for you and can keep a confidence, then seek them out and ask God to bring them into your life.
There is amazing transformation in forgiveness, and it is, in many respects, a person’s greatest need. There’s a Newsboys song that says, “you are only sick as all your secrets.” Is that not true? We can be so transformed, so freed from our secrets, through confession and forgiveness. But God won’t make you do it. Your friends, the very best most godly friends, can’t make you do it. It is 100% up to you.
So let me just close with that great summation from St. Alphonsus Liguori: “For a good confession three things are necessary: an examination of conscience, sorrow, and a determination to avoid sin.”
May we examine our hearts this week and ask God for guidance and wisdom in implementing the discipline of confession.

6 thoughts on “Confession

  1. Being Catholic, confession is a huge part of my faith. I had a priest explain it to me this way: “each time you go to confession, you're sharpening a knife. immediately after you confess your sins and have been absolved, the sharp knife makes those sins more obvious and painful. on the other hand, the longer you go without going to confession, the duller your knife becomes and you barely even notice the sins anymore.”

    i have definitely had days when i caught myself wielding a VERY dull knife, and those are the days that i realize how desperately i need to go to confession! thanks for this reminder, kristie.


  2. Hi, Kristie! Stumbled upon your blog after reading your comment on Donald Miller's site. I'll definitely be back.

    Thanks for the candid take on confession. My favorite insight? “Confession is a great way to combat that little voice that doesn't want you forgiven, that beats you up mentally over and over again for the same transgression.” There’s something about having your sins “out there”—written down, shared with friends, confessed to a pastor or priest, spoken aloud—that makes them less powerful. It gives them shape, making them more recognizable and less formidable. It keeps them from becoming a secret.

    Confession reminds me that I will not be tempted beyond what I can withstand. Thanks for bringing it to mind today.

    (Hey, looks like you’ve included a link to my agent, Rachelle Gardner! Small world!)

  3. Such a rich entry, Krist! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I echo what the other friends have shared… that insidious lie of “you're not forgiven!” circles round and round our heads until it has made such deep treads, it feels almost… natural. And, maybe to some extent, it is natural. Thank GOD – He frees us from the natural. And thank you, too, for your continued thought provoking posts.

  4. I love that quote from St. Alphonus (sp?)…absolutely true and goes right along with what I heard this week at BSF…true confession…I am so thankful for Jesus because with that true confession can come some pretty deep sorrow, if we are honest that is…but, as He was lifted up, we too are lifted up out of our pit, to walk forgiven!

    Thank you for studying and writing for us all!

  5. Wow, what great comments. Love the dull knife illustration from Brice, Rachel's point that confession can give shape to sins, “making them more recognizable and less formidable.”

    “Me too” from Tammy via Laurie is also great, simple wisdom but as Laurie implied, not universal. I actually wrote a piece a year or so ago about how “me too” were the meanest words my husband ever said to me, and really they were. Sometimes “me too” can be the mark of a self-absorbed person. Of course that is a completely different context but came to mind because it is the title of the piece. But I digress. It is a great comfort to know we are not alone in sin!

    Thanks to Caitlin for pointing out that yes we have a human nature, but through Christ that nature doesn't have dominion.

    And as Megan said, may we walk forgiven!

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