This afternoon I confessed something to a brother that had been on my heart for a while. I feel so good right now.
I think there is a lot of hesitation when it comes to confession. A confession has to come before you are caught, otherwise it is merely an admission of guilt. This means that there is a spirit of sacrifice and humility in confession. Sitting before a person admitting your mistakes is a huge hit to the ego, which is why I am so hard pressed to do so more often.
A few months ago the world watched as Tiger Woods admitted to the world a lot of his wrongdoings. I watched as the world (and myself) struggled through his press conference and multiple interviews. It was hard to hear his apology because you wondered if he ever would have owned up to his mistakes if his wrecked cadillac wasn’t all over the news. He was put through the ringer for his actions, and will have to battle this issue for the rest of his life. Over time, I think people will move on from the issue and possibly forgive Tiger, but will always remember the hurt they felt by watching a man hailed as a hero fall so hard. I wonder if our culture would be more open to forgiving Tiger if he had confessed to his struggles before he was caught, and ‘forced’ to admit guilt.
Growing up, I didn’t always get good grades. That shouldn’t surprise anyone trying to read through my poor grammar. On several occasions I tried to hide my grades from my parents. Unfortunately, our schools are very proficient in knowing how to communicate potential grounding material to parents. Never mind the huge tip-off that missing grades provide to a parent. Anyways, the times that I hid my grades from my parents were the times when I got in the most trouble. Not only did I not do my work, but I had the arrogance to try and hide my mistakes from the people that care about me the most, assuming that they were better off not knowing. On the other hand, the times where I talked to my parents ahead of time about my grades were (albeit rare) times of great healing. I provided an open invitation for them to help me through my struggles. Contrary to my opinion at the time, they were more interested in working with me than punishing me for bad behavior. The (few) times I did ‘mess-up early opened up a lot of doors for me. My parents were there to help, teachers would spend extra time with me, and I still got to watch Ninja Turtles because I wasn’t grounded.
The bible says that we are called to pray to God for forgiveness, and confess to each other for healing. I think this is exactly what happens when we confess. We invite others into our lives in a way that creates community and growth. Confession allows us to deal with troubling issues before the storm hits, as opposed to cleaning up the wreckage.
Forgiveness comes from both confession and admission of guilt, but I have to admit, I make it so much tougher on others to forgive me when they have to get past the mess that my wrongdoing has caused.
(This paragraph is a personal reminder intended for me. If you feel moved to follow through on this charge I pray that you will be blessed as well.)
Confess now before you hurt the ones you love. Fully confess. Confess now so that you can build relationships before your sins destroy, or hurt them. Confess so that you are not bearing your burdens alone. Allow other people to see you vulnerable, and let their godly words and kindness build you back up. Don’t wait until you have been caught to admit guilt. Pray to God for forgiveness from your sins and confess to your brothers and sisters so that you may be healed. Allow God and others to fill your heart.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on confession vs admission of guilt!
One love, one heart.