CONFESSION: Gateway To Wholeness

When we do not deal with our sin in an honest and complete manner, we

sometimes sabotage answers and perpetuate the very problems we are trying

to resolve. The problem is, we are not confessing sin. We are doing just

about everything but that. We sheepishly admit to friends that we're, "not

doing so well," spiritually. We nod remorsefully when the pastor mentions

sin issues which touch us. We offer a general prayer, asking God for

forgiveness and to make us "better Christians." But we're still not

confessing our sins.

In the booklet, "Homosexuality: Laying The Axe To The Roots," Ed Hurst and

I challenged readers to deal with attitudes like self-pity, bitterness, and

rebellion and the behaviour which erupts from these attitudes. This

requires confession, repentance, and pleading the blood of Christ in order

to set these attitudes and behaviour aside. But it seems to me that what

most readers are getting out of the booklet is some kind of identification

with their problem, something which makes them say, "Yeah, they know what

I'm going through." What they aren't doing is paying attention to the

spiritual ramifications of dealing with sin.

Several passages in the Bible mention the appropriate way of dealing with

sin. Let's look at a couple of them.

"He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses

and forsakes them will obtain mercy"

(Proverbs 28:13, Emphasis added).

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins

and cleanse us from all unrighteousness"

(1 John 1:9, Emphasis added).

and here is the clincher:

"Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that

you may be healed."

(James 5:16a, Emphasis added)

Why aren't we confessing our sins? Laziness is a problem when it comes to

the private time we spend with the Lord. Often, our prayer time is little

more than lip service to God. We do a quick "once-over" prayer, asking God

in a general way to forgive us our sins. Unfortunately, we don't take the

time to lay the sin out for Him [and ourselves] to deal with. We are too

impatient. We don't take time to ponder the depths of our iniquity.

How much deeper would we know God's love and mercy toward us, if we allowed

ourselves to face it all, sin by sin? It can be a painful process, but the

resulting wholeness and freedom is well worth it. James 4:9-10 directs us


"Be wretched and mourn and weep, Let your laughter be turned to mourning

and your joy to dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will

exalt you."

Another barrier to the confession of sin is the temptation to pass over the

stage of mourning and leap right into "joy everlasting." Too many churches

and teachers ignore the seriousness of sin in pursuit of the freedom of

forgiveness. This kind of approach to sin and forgiveness belittles the

work of Christ and leads to what some have called, "cheap grace"

I've also heard Christian teachers say that we shouldn't get too

introspective because it's bad for our self-esteem; we shouldn't lay

unnecessary guilt trips on ourselves. It's probably true that sitting

around thinking how crummy we are only leads to "pity parties" rather than

anything constructive. But self-pity is not taking a spiritual

"inventory," confession of our sin the way God wants us to is an activity,

not an attitude. We have to decide to do it.

But confessing our sins to the Lord is only a partial solution; the Bible

directs us to, "confess our sins to one another" (James 5:16).

Transparency and risk-taking are two characteristics of fellowship that

we've been hearing more and more about lately. To be who we really are

with one another [and being able to confess our sins to one another] means

taking a big dose of humility. As we open up to others, it's encouraging

to know that rather than being rejected, we might be delightfully surprised

to find out that we have gained the admiration and respect of our friends

and neighbours by being honest [as well as fostering a climate of openness

for them to share, too].

It means setting aside self-righteousness, spiritual pride, that important

position in the community, or church, our reputation, etc. It means taking

a deep breath and admitting that we're far from perfect. Something our

friends and neighbours already knew, by the way; they've just been hoping

that we'd catch on, too!

I know it's hard. I have a difficult time pulling this off myself. I have

a position, a certain amount of authority, the credibility of the ministry

to consider. Plus, I have the kind of temperament which allows me to act

like everything is fine, like sin's not really a big issue with me. Since

I wasn't into overt sin [behaviour] like sleeping around or getting high

before I was a Christian, I'm not going to revert to that kind of behaviour

when I backslide. Basically, I've always come off as the "good kid." So,

when I haven't been fellowshiping with the Lord like I should or have been

harbouring wrong attitudes, it's really hard for anyone to notice my sin

and call me on it. And I'm inclined not to tell!

But how can we be burden-bearers for one another when we never share on

this level? (see Galatians 6:2-3). How can we present one another mature

in Christ if we don't let down the barriers and show ourselves to be the

broken persons we really are, sharing the things that we're really thinking

and feeling? How can corrective teaching and counselling be effective [or

even given] if we never allow our real selves to be visible? (see

Colossians 1:28). When we are silent and careful to observe the

traditional "religious" behaviour codes [no dancing, no swearing, etc.] it

means that we look good, at least for the moment. But who knows our

hearts? No one, unless we voluntarily open ourselves up to one another.

We need someone to stand with us in prayer before the Lord;

" have a sin forgiven we must first be fully aware of having committed

it, see it in it's true light [without rationalization], be truly sorry,

and fully renounce it. It is so easy to excuse, to delude ourselves, to

justify our action. When a situation is brought out of the darkness of

secrecy into the open air and light of examination before another human

being who is committed to the truth, it can be seen as it truly is."

(Ephesians 5:11-13).

This is a part of the process of dying to self, a death which allows Christ

to live in and through us. Having someone witness and pray with us means

that Satan can't bug us about not having properly dealt with a sin issue.

If he comes to accuse us, we can tell him to get lost and remind him that

we took care of it with our friend in prayer. It also means that if we are

tempted to fall again there is someone we can go to that already knows of

our vulnerabilities in this area.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.

For if one falls, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone

when he falls and has not another to lift him up." (Ecclesiastes


We need to encourage each other to step out and begin to risk ourselves

with those around us. It's true that some brothers and sisters will not

react the way we might hope. But we are called to confess our sins,

nevertheless. We must accept and forgive those brothers and sisters God

places in our lives instead of withdrawing or growing bitter, just as they

are called to pray with us in humility and love.

-- Roberta L Kenney


For further information about homosexuality or about other areas of sexual

brokenness, please contact:


G.P.O. Box 1115


Phone (08) 371 0446

This article is reprinted by permission from:

OUTPOST, 1821 University Avenue South, St. Paul, MN 55104, U.S.A.

Originally published as "Some Thoughts on the Confession of Sin" by Outpost


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