Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hiding in Plain Sight Pt. I

What happened to confession? Confession is the prerequisite of repentance, yet it has been corrupted, misplaced, pigeon-holed, and ultimately abandoned. The fact is, despite our honest and sincere faith in the Risen Savior, we ALL endure daily struggles with our own sin. But we all too readily ignore the Bible's relational prescription for our failings in vain attempts to maintain a false sense of piety. But avoiding confession does not at all remove the obvious need for confession, since whether we admit it or not, our sins are put on display daily for others to either see or discern.

We as Christians have taken the concept of confession as described in James 5:16 and twisted it in a variety of ways.
  • Only being willing to confess to ordained leaders or "qualified" counselors
  • Expecting only the newly converted, or "messed up" to confess and testify in lurid detail the extent of their sinful lives
  • Avoid confession altogether in fear that admitting failings may harm the Body of Christ and plant temptations in others to sin that were not previously there.
  • Viewing all of our shortcomings as the fault of someone else in a perverted interpretation of persecution. (See my posting entitled "Why We Need Persecution", particularly, the section "What Is Persecution?")
  • Using confession as a remedy for being caught instead of openly and honestly acknowledging our sin, whether it was seen by others or not.
So besides our own vanity, what's the primary cause of our abandonment of confession? I believe it is the lack of TRUST. Confession in its proper use is dependent upon an assurance of sincere concern and security in the one receiving the confession. I've been personally focusing on the biblical concepts of fellowship and community and I have seen myself trending more towards encouraging less ritual in our churches and more relationship. When did we get to the place where every meeting must have a set format and official feel to it? I believe this enduring standard has hampered the organic growth and connectedness of the church. How can you get to know someone well enough to trust them with your life's issues by merely coming to a building and sitting, singing, or praying next to them? Take a moment and think about how in depth your relationships with your fellow church members really are, even the one's you call your closest friends. Have you developed the type of trusting relationship that would allow you to both share and receive in confession and sincerely pray and minister to to one another?

elder todd

1 John 1:8-9 (NIV)

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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