A Confession

I’ve made some seriously stupid mistakes.

I know you’re shocked right? You shouldn’t be.

Now I have been told that I don’t look or act like someone who has made stupid mistakes, but I can assure you, I’ve definitely knocked it out of Stupid Mistake Park before – multiple times. I’ve rounded those bases more times than I care to remember.stupid-mistakes

I am sure that everything happens for a reason.  But I cannot avoid the truth. Sometimes the reason for things happening a certain way is that you’re stupid and make bad decisions.

That would be me. I know I’m not alone though. Remember that stupid thing you did that time? I’m not talking about your most embarrassing moment that makes for a cute story at dinner. I’m talking about that big kahuna mistake, the one that could take you down if you ever ran for public office.

I sometimes have a really bad dream.  It is the same dream each time.  All my co-workers are gathered in the conference room, watching  each and every awful secret of my life played out on a big TV screen. The next thing I know, I have nowhere to hide and I just start running away as fast as I can. I can hear them talking about what they are seeing.  I can hear myself talking and telling the joke you privately made about your friend’s baby’s ugly cone head and it didn’t stop there. Not only were they watching my actions and hearing my words, but they could read my thoughts. Yeah, I kept running because I knew it was going to get worse.

It is then I wake up in a cold sweat.  The nightmare is over but I usually toss and turn the rest of the night because it seemed so real. I have had this dream many times in my life. Each time it ends the same way… me running as fast as I can to avoid the truth of my stupid mistakes.

To clarify… when I refer to “my stupid mistakes” I need to come clean and call them what they really were… “my guilty sins”.

If you’re like me, maybe you’ve got a nice, juicy handful of stupid things like that in your past (maybe even from this week). Believe it or not, despite our inclinations to the contrary and how hard we try to hide them, I think that the people who know us best ought to be well-aware of all of confessionthose things in our lives.

However, due to the fact that we all spend a great deal of our time trying to convince everyone we’ve got it all together, sharing this kind of sinful baggage with others doesn’t come naturally for most of us. But whether it comes naturally or not, if you’re on board with the Biblical message of confession, God requires us to verbally unload our sins with Him.

No fun, I know.

Wouldn’t it be even better if we could just pretend we never did that completely stupid thing that night, way back when?

Wouldn’t it be easier if we could just kind of mumble a generic prayer to God every time we screwed up? Oh wait!!! Isn’t that what most believer’s do?  I am convinced that many believer’s have never really confessed verbally the depth and magnitude of the sins in their life to God.  Many times it is masked by the line, “God, please forgive me of all my sins”. 

Now… I do not want to be misunderstood.  I believe that God does forgive us of all of our sin when we have prayed even that simple line.  I just feel that the reason many people struggle with the forgiveness of their past is that they have not verbally laid it at feet of our forgiving God.

if-we-confessWe are, indeed, told to confess our sins to God, who is “faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. But then we are also told, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16.

Assuming we all agree that we need to confess our sins to God (even the sins from that night way back when), then this raises two big questions about the need to confess our sins to one another. First, how do we know who to confess to? The second question is why it’s even necessary to air our dirty laundry to others.

For me, the first question of to whom do we confess our sins is fairly easy:  I believe that we need to confess to the sins to another believer that I am accountable to.  I believe in the concept of accountability of one brother to another. I don’t believe you should stand on the corner and confess every single sin you have ever committed to just anyone. I believe you need to confess and be accountable to another believer. Find a brother in Christ if you are a man and a sister in Christ if you are a woman. Find someone you can be held accountable to. That being said… in confession… I don’t do this as often as I should.

JamesRegarding the second question as to the necessity of confessing to each other, why can’t we just confess our sins to God and be done with it? Why does God want us to drag other believers into it?

I think it’s because God understands how easy it is for us to cough out a confession to Him while we stare at the ceiling or to cry our eyes out until we feel like we’ve proven how bad we feel about being such losers. We sort of move on, but we never really know the pain of looking someone in the face and telling the truth about ourselves, nor do we experience the joy of receiving forgiveness in-person.

The aspect of confession has been on my mind and heart all week.  God has reminded me in a clear way that He knows who I am.

He knows who you are.

We’re not fooling Him, and we’d do well to stop trying to fool others.

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