Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Heroic Confession

There are things we just don't say at church, and if we do say them we "code" them.  Like this: "I have sinned."  Could we be less specific?  "I am struggling with some things."  What does that even mean?  That could be 10 extra pounds, drug addiction or liver cancer!  "I need prayers."  Who doesn't?  My mom prays for me everyday-apparently I need prayers too.  Church is one of our favorite places to avoid telling the truth.

I'm not stupid.  I know everyone does not need to know everything.  I wouldn't suggest walking into an unfamiliar church and spilling your guts to the stranger in the pew next to you.  Understand though, the thing about telling the truth is it is permission giving.  When I tell the truth, you know that you can too.  My truth will set you free.

One of the blogs that I read, from Jeff Goins, has recently dealt with this topic. Clear and concise, he writes about the craft of writing.   Recently he reviewed a book he read, All is Grace, the memoir of a broken and terribly honest priest, Brennan Manning.  Urging his readers to emulate Manning's frankness he writes, "If you write a blog or a memoir or simply find yourself telling a story to a friend over coffee today, try doing this for a change. Tell a nasty part of yourself you'd otherwise conceal. Tell something that humiliates and humbles you, and see how your audience reacts" ( ).

Can you imagine?  What if we went to small group Sunday night and instead of using what Jon Acuff calls the "Christian "F" word" -fine- what if we told the truth? What if we said out loud, "All this week I've been a nag and my husband is sick of me."  What if we said, "That girl of mine has a super smart mouth and I almost smacked it yesterday- I am so ashamed."  Or, "I'm worried sick over stupid stuff and I'm not sure I even want to pray about it anymore!"

If you are concerned that the deacon in charge of the small group might pass out, try telling your troubles to a sister.  Be smart; choose one that doesn't gossip!  You might be shocked at what an encouragement you are to each other.

Goins goes on to point out that this kind of truth telling makes us heroes.  Every hero has to fight off an enemy, every hero has to face his kryptonite.  Without these things, he doesn't have a story to tell. What about us?  If we have no sin to confess, we have no need of our Savior, no common ground with our friends and our family members in the world.  Worse, if we think we have no sin to confess we are liars and self-deluded.  (1 John 1:9)

I have already told you I am the world's worst at this!  But I have held sisters who came to tell me the truth; I have watched them cry, and I have lifted my voice in prayer with them.  God calls us to mutual confession and prayer: "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.  The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much" (James 5:16). And when we, my sisters and I, did these things together, it blessed me as much as them.  It reminded me that I am not alone-a single sinner in the midst of saints.  It convicted me to repent of that sin myself.  It seems they never come crying over one I haven't been guilty of doing.  Finally it encouraged me to continue try to master what they are doing so well, confession. 

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. 

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