Confession is good for the soul, they say. I believe it!
Some of my friends know more about me than others do. Some of them know things that would be bad for my reputation, should they ever feel like doing me harm. It’s that vulnerability that keeps me from telling Everyone Everything.
Gradually I’ve learned to suppress the defensive instinct and to let go of secrets. Still, there are some people who won’t hear all about my nefarious past. My grandchildren, for example, are not prepared to hear much of what happened to me. They get the abridged version, paraphrased for tender tellings.
As my own children grew up, I did let go of more and more of the whole story. The problem wasn’t them. It was me and my long-practiced habits of secrecy. I thought I couldn’t trust them to be discreet. I was worried that they wouldn’t love me if they knew All about me. When they challenged me, I realized that they needed to know who and what I really was … am.
My father used to encourage me to run for public office. When I told him why I wouldn’t consider it, he was genuinely shocked. Evidently, Dad thought I was a paragon of virtue. It’s a benefit of the forgetfulness of great age. But my past is not erased. The official records still exist, and any competent investigator could dig up my foolishness for public display, airing my "dirty laundry."
But my old sweat-stained cap has been exchanged “for a starry crown,” as the old song says. I’ve been washed in the blood of the lamb. I’m anticipating a fresh robe in heaven someday soon. My sins have been washed away.
All the things I’m ashamed of have made it hard for me to be completely open with everyone, but I’d like to be. It’s a crippling predicament. Only the Spirit of God can heal my conscience. If I don’t tell everyone, at least I will tell Him everything; who I’ve hurt, who I’ve cheated, who I’ve deceived, and who I’ve hated, my sins.
I thank God for my friends and relatives that I can bare my soul to. They are often sympathetic, but more often, they are encouraging, and they bring a measure of accountability to the relationship. My weaknesses for certain temptations may never go away in this life, but knowing I will see you soon helps me to want to do right and be good so that my conscience will be clear.
Keeping dark secrets is very stressful. Confessing is a great relief. Think about your life and try to pick out some aspects that you are hiding from others. Pray about that thing. Ask God to give you the courage to reveal it to someone you care for, someone you trust. Talk to that person about what you mean to do so that it won’t be a shock. Ask them to pray with you before you reveal your burden of sin.
The Spirit of God will strengthen you and comfort you as you tell the whole truth, maybe for the first time, and you will experience the freedom that comes from confession.
Dear Father, we are your children, but not all innocent. Our sins are a heavy burden to carry alone. Even though we believe they are forgiven, they weigh us down as a guilty burden. Will you help us, Lord? Will you guide us to the brother or sister that will hear the truth and yet love us? Will you show us how to care for one another with grace as a confessor? Will you help us to see the cleansing blood of Christ all our lives as we work toward a full disclosure? And will you make us know your grace and mercy because our brothers and sisters in Christ dispense it? I know you will, Father.
In Jesus’ name, let it be.