Confession has to be one of the most neglected aspects of the Christian faith. In fact, most Christian organizations create a culture that dissuades confession. Churches have bogus “restoration processes” that are in print but not in practice. What often happens is more like a good old Amish shunning; “there are plenty of churches around, just find another one and we’ll be praying for you.” We don’t hate the sin and love the sinner. Instead we hate the memory of the sin and ,well, every time I look at you I remember the sin, so…
I recently spoke to the young men at a Christian college chapel service. I asked them to raise their hand if any of them had premarital sex in the past month. Many of them laughed, which I expected. Because, like them, I knew that asking that question in that setting was preposterous. With the Dean of Students in attendance, anyone raising their hand would be booted out of school, *ahem*, go through a restoration process. So we create cultures with honor codes and conduct policies aimed at protecting those currently ‘not sinning.’
The insanity is that, if we believe the Bible, we all sin and are in need of grace. So instead of policies and cultures that help sinners rebound, we create communities that don’t exterminate sin but isolate sinners; isolated by expulsion if the sin is public. And even more demonic, isolation within themselves because they have to keep sin hidden, leading to a double life.
In fact, as parents, we can do the same thing. We create codes of conduct for our children that we don’t live by or, worse yet, we do strive to live by but they never see or hear us confess our failure to live up to those standards. Parents rarely confess to their kids because they fear losing power over their kids’ purity (“if dad had sex before marriage, than why can’t I?”)
All this does is create a dissonance in the child’s life that, when in the teen years, translates into hypocrisy. The church is full of hypocrites. They preach control over teen lust but can’t practice self-control at Chik-Fil-A. They preach grace but I’m raised in law. The prodigal’s father gives his son his inheritance but my dad practices ‘tough love,’ and so on. It’s no wonder 75% of churched teens are leaving the church when they move out.
When we hold on to our sin, it makes us expect perfection out of others in an unreasonably harsh way. Because we know we couldn’t do it, so we innately need a perfect savior. If not us, then our spouse or our kids. That’s the great lie of perfection. When we hold onto our sin, we decay. But we can find true healing and joy in confessing our sins to God and to our brothers (see James 5:16).
Jesus came to save sinners, not sinners that try and appear perfect.
“Christ can and will save a man who has been dishonest, but He cannot save him while he is dishonest.” – A.W. Tozer
Confess today and be freed from your shackles. Wear your mistakes like a red badge of courage, the blood soaked in your bandages is not your own, but from the One who healed you.
So go ahead.
Confess and get kicked out.
Confess and get grounded.
Confess and lose respect.
Confess and lose your job.
Confess and sleep on the couch.
Confess and be saved from your sin.
Confess and never be apart from the One who truly loves and truly forgives.