When you hear the word confession, you might immediately think of two scenes: a courtroom, or a confessional. Besides those two ideas, what is confession, and how does it help us experience Jesus? A working definition of confession means admitting we have done something wrong that we are ashamed or embarrassed about. From a religious sense, it also means declaring something about God to be true.
Understanding confession reminded me of my drum instructor. Carl is an accomplished percussionist, as well as an accomplished instructor in the drum corps world. I remember the first time I came into the studio for lessons. I was scared to death. I knew that my talent was nothing in comparison to his. Frankly, I was embarrassed. Thankfully, he was really gracious and did not view me as I saw myself. To become a better musician, I had to get over my embarrassment, and admit there were some kinks that needed worked out. Through Carl’s help in bringing those to light, I slowly got better. Now, there were definitely days where he would point out kinks in my form, technique, and so on that needed correction. Day after day, for four years, I allowed my kinks to be brought to the light so that I could become a better musician.
Plenty of us fall into one of three camps when it comes to confession:
- “yeah, I’m OK with confession. I do that.”
- “There is no way I will confess anything I’ve done wrong. I’ve got to make sure I look good on the outside.”
- “I’m so afraid to expose what I’ve done.”
There are different casualties that occur when we view confession incorrectly. If we confess sins with wrong motives, we often minimize and rationalize our sin. On the other hand, some who confess feel embarrassed, weak, or unworthy. But, there are still those who choose not to confess sin. Those people may choose to make up for NOT confessing, or take it out on other people. Either way, you’re no better off if you look at confession incorrectly. In fact, the reasons we don’t value confession is because
- we like to be seen as having it all together.
- we’re afraid of the consequences that come if we’re found out.
- confession hurts- meaning we feel the pain inflicted on ourselves and others.
But, I believe there is a different way to view confession. There is a guy in the Bible named John. He was one of Jesus’ closest friends. He has some interesting things to say about confession. He says:
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” -1 John 1:5-10
If we say we believe in Jesus and all that, then not confessing sin is not an option. In God’s eyes, when we don’t confess sin, the following happens:
- we’re liars/deceive ourselves
- we don’t put into practice the truth about Jesus we profess
- we’re basically calling Jesus a liar
On the contrary, when we confess our sins to God:
- we have fellowship (meaning, companionship or camaraderie) with others. Did you realize that confessing sin helps you have better friendships?
- Jesus’ blood cleanses us from ALL sin. The sins we have yesterday, today, and in the future until we die are forgiven.
- When we confess, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us.
- God won’t abandon us. This means you don’t have to feel weak, scared, or unworthy. He’ll accept our confession and cleanse us.
- There is freedom from confessing sins. No longer do we have to carry around the baggage of our sin when we confess it into the light.
You can practice confessing anytime you want. It doesn’t have to be a place you go to. It can simply be an exercise you practice at any point you know you need to confess.
My Challenge: Spend a moment each day and ask God to reveal sins that you need to confess. And, once you confess them, know that you no longer have to carry guilt, shame, or embarrassment.