I have recently have the privilege to think more about confession. So often, I freely relunctently bring my sins before others, unsure of their reaction. Will they condemn me? Belittle me? Feel embarassed for me? Or continue to love me just as I am?
Every few months, the subject comes up in my life, and it is always a mystery to me. It has been made abundantly clear to me that God is uniquely present in confession. Every time – every single time – that I have confessed sin to a dear friend, I have been met with more grace than I could have dared to ask or imagine. While I don’t hold confession to be a sacrament, I do believe that it uniquely reflects something of the God who made us and the community He has placed us in.
James tells us to “…confess [our] sins to one another and pray for each other…for the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” It’s a little mind blowing.
Some other thoughts that I generally agree with:
Confession makes sense to me because it is incarnational. In the sacraments the Holy Spirit uses stuff to sanctify us…In confession, the stuff He uses is another person. In that way, confession teaches us about the Incarnation all over again.” -Lauren Winner, Girl meets God
Now our brother stands in Christ’s stead. Before him, I need no longer to dissemble. Before him alone in the whole world I dare to be the sinner that I am; here the truth of Jesus Christ and his mercy rules. Christ became our brother in order to help us. Through him our brother has become Christ for us in the power and authority of the commission Christ has given to him. Our brother stands before us as the sign of the truth and the grace of God. He has been given to us to help us. He hears the confession of our sins in Christ’s stead and he forgives our sins in Christ’s name…So in the Christian community when the call to brotherly confession and forgiveness goes forth it is a call to the great grace of God in the Church.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
I believe that confessing our sins to another human being is crucial, not because God requires it before he’ll forgive us, but because there is tremendous power in being fully known and in hearing another voice remind us that God has forgiven us. – John Ortberg
I am blessed and humbled by this beautiful responsibility. I pray that others have encountered even a piece of that from me.