The weekend offers a little extra time to consider, to perhaps dive a bit deeper into the Scriptures. Schedules can slow down a bit and offer more opportunities to think. So here is a topic and several scriptures to consider. Please share your own thoughts or comments.
Ever notice how as followers of Jesus we tend to embrace most of what the Scriptures call us to, but there are certain elements we may just…well, ignore? I’m not saying we live out the most really well, but we at least acknowledge it and seek to be good followers in those areas. But then there are certain things that we just don’t even seem interested in trying or growing in. We don’t talk about them or teach them in our churches.
Today I’m thinking about confession. Not confessing our sins to God, I mean confessing to one another; confessing to other believers that we have done wrong. If you aren’t Catholic there is a good chance that you haven’t done this…ever. Or if you did you didn’t do it on purpose!
But the New Testament speaks very clearly to this concept.
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. James 5:16
Now, I get it. I understand the multitude of reasons why we don’t confess to each other. It’s uncomfortable, it’s embarrassing. No one likes to admit they have done wrong. And let’s be honest—it’s dangerous. If I tell someone my failures and weaknesses they may use it against me in the future. All true, but is that reason enough o ignore it?
When did the Gospel ever claim to be easy or safe? When did it become acceptable for us to follow only the parts that we can follow fairly comfortably?
Admittedly, I don’t agree with the way the Catholic Church does it. I don’t believe you can find Biblical support for needing a priest to hear your confession. But is this our only objection? Someone else did it inadequately or poorly (by a Protestant’s point of view) and so we don’t want to do it at all?
I wonder how that kind of logic will sit with Jesus? “They did it poorly so I just decided not to do it at all.” I would imagine Jesus may rather we try and do it improperly or inadequately than that we just avoid it and ignore it because the concept makes us squirm.
What do you make of our general ignoring of this call to confess to one another?
What do you make of the apparent connection in James 5:18 between confessing and healing?
What is one step I could/should take in the direction of learning to confess well? To receive the confessions of others well?
How could true confession transform the community of believers?
Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. Acts 19:18
[Note: I realize these are generalizations and that there are pockets of the Church that confess well. But I think by and large the church has ignored it and its proper place within the community—whatever place that may be.]