Many times in life the very things that will help us get healthy seems to go against our common sense; if you want more energy you need to exercise more, if you want to lose weight eat more meat (and less of some other things, and exercise), if you want to relax sometimes you have to do an activity (mowing the lawn is relaxing for me). Anyway, if we want to get healthy spiritually and mentally it requires us to do some tough things – things that seem to go against our common sense – that is, a confession.
Now, for my Catholic friends you are fully aware of the importance of confession. However, growing up protestant in a conservative church I knew about confession but not the full aspects of it. If we consider the word “confess” it simply means “to tell the truth”. Therefore, confession is telling the truth about who I am and what I struggle with. That was the big “Light Bulb” for me many years ago. Confession is not just telling God about how I screwed up badly and sinned. It’s much more than that – confession is about me being real with God about how I see myself (the good and the bad). Confession is telling God the truth about me; that I am both good and bad. It would not be healthy for me to tell God how bad I am (and by the way, some people think that is humility – it’s not, and I’ll talk more about humility later). It also would not be healthy for me to tell God about all the good stuff about me (that would be pride and arrogance). But we find balance when we tell God about the good and bad in our life; the sin, the stress, the concerns, the victories, the pains the struggles – GOD WANTS TO HEAR ALL OF IT. Why? Because we have a RELATIONSHIP with HIM. God is about relationship; and in relationships, we talk. So, confession first of all is about confession to God (Telling Him the Truth About Us).
Confession is also about Connections
James 5:16 (NLT)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
There is another important part of confession we need to remember if we want to get spiritually healthy, and that’s to confess to one another. This is where the humility aspect of this lesson comes into play, to confess to God can sometimes be easy – after all, we don’t visually see God around us (although we do see the effects of His handy-work and nature). But to confess to another person (to tell them the truth about ourselves) is rather humbling. You see, we typically want to pose (that’s an old skateboarding term I used to use when I was a teen; I can have a nice skateboard and have all the gear to go with it, but if I don’t actually skate then I am a poser). In the Christian life, we have a lot of posers. I have been a poser more times than not myself. I pose like everything in life is going great when in facts I am a stressed-out mess, or I have some hidden sin, or I am really excited about something (I got something inside of me that needs to get out and be shared with others but I leave it there). To get healthy I NEED TO LEARN TO CONFESS TO OTHERS (to tell others the truth about myself and what is going on in my life).
Picture this, going to lunch with your best friend and sharing with them the real you (the stress, the struggles, the joys, the temptations, and the failures). Would that be tough for you? Would you feel a little humbled if you did?
James 4:7-8 (NLT)
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
Humility and Confession go hand in hand. And what’s more, you will find that when you share your real life with real friends (those that will not judge you for being you) they will actually draw closer to you in friendship and you will become healthy in your emotional and spiritual life.
I hope this post is encouraging to you and that you will find the courage to become truthful about who you are with God and others. If you would like more specifics on this topic (confession) please email me back – I’d love to talk.