a confession: i don't practice confession very well. (too much irony?) but really, i don't. actually, i brought it up in my member interview at Sojourn this past week. my community group and close friends therein have been great examples of how God uses good confession to heal and sanctify us. i've experienced the goodness of the discipline. i am just not intentional or, honestly, all that glad about practicing it.
one reason i don't regularly confess is that sin immobilizes me. i feel paralyzed when i consider my sin. look, i've been at this Christian thing for a long time now, over a decade actually. you might think i'd start to get a little better at it. but i'm not. sometimes i think i'm worse than i've ever been. so when i approach the confessional, i do not hear the ringing truth of God's sufficient grace. i hear the sirens wailing, pulling up my very tainted track record.
then it becomes a spiral: i remember other errs, grievous ones, ones from last month, last year, even 15 years ago. things i did and words i said to people who needed to be loved. and i am crushed. is that who i am? it's certainly not who i want to be, but it's starting to look like that's who i am. that's what my life is reflecting. and it's got a lot of ugly. i'd rather not get into it, thankyouverymuch.
is this starting to get depressing? i hope it is. because it's true, and it's the human condition. cognitive dissonance can only go so far; at some point we have to face the music.
this is why i need confession. i need to know how ugly this really is. i need to get into it.
because i need to know how far this grace must come.
it's like i'm digging a hole in the ground: with each confession of sin, i'm digging out the poison and casting it away, that part of me is taken away and it no longer has any bearing on who i am. so i dig, and dig, and dig some more. i dig until i break a sweat, until my arms are sore, until i'm covered in dirt and bruises and smell like i haven't showered in a week. i dig until i think i've gotten it all. then see i haven't; and i dig some more.
and then it rains.
and it doesn't stop raining until the entire hole is filled.
it is sufficient.
sin makes me feel useless. i stop participating in the work God is doing when i wallow in my own sin.
but sin is useful: it reveals my need for God, and it reveals the depth of His great love for me. "at the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. for a righteous man, someone will rarely die, and for a good man, someone might possibly be willing to die. but God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." romans seven : six - eight.
this unthinkable love is true. and every time i practice confession, i claim it as my covering. confession is the starting place for the love of God to be fully known in my life.