I have the great privilige of talking with Women (usually ages 18-35) about the joys of the Gospel and the pains of sin.
Lately I have been thinking about Confession & Repentance with regard to some of these conversations.
Here are some thouhts...
Psalm 32:3 "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long." I am convinced that one of the greatest gifts God gives to His children is the ability to CONFESS our sins to one another. The act of confession seems to be a "lost art" among many Christian communities. I am not sure if we are hesitant because we have not found trustworthy ears, or if we don't know how to confess, we haven't seen or tasted the benefits of confession or maybe we just don't want to confess. Maybe the "darling sin" that we so greatly want to protect is more imoportant than exposing light onto its devastating effects. When sin is hidden, it is deadly. Our bones waste away, as David points out in Psalm 32. We "stay in the sin" and harbor it and often there is no REPENTANCE. Confession does not equal repentance. However, there is something very powerful and beautiful about exposing, with great honesty and vulnerability the sin that so violently entagles are souls. Scary? Yes. Freeing? Absolutely. Exposing our sin to someone we trust is amazing. I cannot tell you how many times I have confessed to a friend and seen repentance almost immediately. It was as if the words needed to come out of my mouth so that I could actually feel the FREEDOM and FORGIVENESS that is offered in Christ and therefore have the ability to turn from the sin. Confession can bring about great relief.
Often the flip side to a lack of confession is Confession ONLY.
There is a sense in which we confess our sin(s) and feel free, but there is no repentance. That is not a good place to be. It is not enough to confess only. We are called to repentance (turning away from the sin).
We want so badly to let people know that we don't have it all together, so we tell them our junk and think that is enough. It is not. We cannot confess and then just wait for God to take away the struggle. We must confess and then turn (we do the turning) from the sin (relationship, private acts, idolatry, gossip etc).
CONFESSION is beautiful and freeing. CONFESSION alone is just that...alone.
Our boldness in repentance must be as bold as the words we confess to one another.
CONFESSION is to one another (and to the Lord). REPENTANCE is to the Lord.