In Isaiah, the Lord describes the attitude of man when he says…
“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.
It is nearly impossible to truly apologize, admit wrong doing, and to do so in an arrogant way. Sure, it’s possible to use an apology out of coercion or as an attempt to manipulate a person or situation, but that’s not what we’re talking about today.
We are talking about, face on the ground, tears from our eyes, know we’ve done things wrong apologies.
When you honestly go before someone and admit your mistakes, and ask for forgiveness, that has a way of revealing the weakest parts of yourself. It shows what we, as people, so rigidly try to disguise: our humanity.
I believe this is one of the reasons why we’re told to confess to one another. It’s a daily reminder to the church that there isn’t a person alive who isn’t in need of grace. There isn’t a person who is beyond needing help, and there isn’t a person who can survive without community.
To confess as a practice means more often than not means that we’re living out the life of a humble Christ follower.
And like baptism reminds us of our resurrection in Christ, confession reminds us of our constant need of forgiveness.
In simple, confession makes sure we don’t get too big for our britches.
13Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
When one reads this passage, they could easily get lost in the first half of the passage. It’s one that is quoted often, and used any time a person is feeling ill, struggling with disease or is in need of God’s miraculous healing.
A body can break down, fall apart, and decay and it’s not considered uncomfortable to ask for prayer.
Is there shame in asking for this healing? Is there reason to be embarrassed about asking for prayer?
Spirit like body
In the same way, in the same verse, we see the spiritual parallel the physical. We are instructed to pray in the same way for our spiritual/emotional needs as well as our physical ones.
Confession connects us with others
Have you ever heard soldiers talk about the men and women then go to war along side? If so, you will hear them talk about shared experiences, shared stories. They will say things like, “So-and-so is my brother” or “I would die for them.” Many soldiers do die for a fellow soldier.
What brings them to a place of closeness or to share such a tight bond with one another?
Is it the fact they make the same money, or dress in the same way?
They’re close because they have shared a similar stretch of road. They’ve experienced difficult challenges, learned to rely on one another, and trust in each other. When a person experiences a life-altering experience, it’s difficult for others to really grasp why that matters. Often, family and friends will begin to grow tired of the old “war stories.”
While the situation is different, and the stories won’t be the same, the act of finding a person and sharing life’s deepest and darkest moments with them, will draw you together in a way that no other will match.
When you find someone that you can share your mistakes and your failures with, you will begin to understand grace and how secure that grace can make you.
There is nothing better than bearing your soul to someone, sharing something you always believed would push you outside of all relationships, and having them come back with “thank you for trusting me. You’re loved.”
That moment is life changing!
Swing by tomorrow as we bring our series on confession to a close.