Growing up, I couldn’t bear to hear the word “confession” without getting a knot in my stomach. Nothing sounded more miserable than willingly sharing my wrongdoings with other people—let alone with God.
This is probably why I wouldn’t do it unless, of course, I was caught in my sin. I don’t need to volunteer my screw-ups to anyone, thank you very much. I’ll keep that information safe with me and we’ll all be better for it.
That, however, is not the case. Refusing to engage in confession is like sitting out in the sun for too long—it may feel good for a while, but it can be detrimental to your health, in both the short and long-term.
Although confession may not be listed as anyone’s favorite pastime, its rewarding impact cannot be ignored. Here are some of the surprising benefits of confession:
People often say, “What they don’t know can’t hurt them.” In terms of considering confession, I’d say what you do know can hurt you. Not admitting sin can be like dragging a painfully heavy weight behind you. You may be tripping up others, and you’re certainly hurting yourself. We don’t have to carry the weight of our sins with us, but in order to cut the extra weight we have to confess our wrongdoings. The burden is lifted and freedom is ours to experience whenever we choose to enter into a time of confession.
Sin builds walls. It thrives in isolation. Sin is quick to keep us from growing closer to God, our spouse, and our friends. Therefore, when we confess our sins and struggles to God and others, we are stepping out of isolation. We are inviting others into our struggle and, immediately, the barriers our sins have built up begin to crumble. We open up access to God and our community when we can share the stories of our struggles, repentance, and desire for redemption. A life of sin is lived in hiding, whereas a life of confession is lived authentically with others.
One of the most prominent characteristics of a sin is that it brings harm to our self or others. When we refuse to confess our sins, we are also refusing the healing that comes when we admit to our shortcomings. If we do not confess where we have fallen short, how could we possibly achieve any necessary healing? Confession invites healing; it says that we understand where we have gone wrong and we want something more—something more aligned with God’s desire for our lives. Once we confess, we can begin mending the wounds our sin has caused to our self and/or those around us.
Has your child, friend, or spouse ever approached you to willingly offer a confession? It’s a big deal, right? While the impact of their sin may be deep and wide, there’s something to be said about a person choosing to enter into confession, rather than being dragged into it. Being someone who values confession can actually increase your integrity. We all sin, so it’s no secret that you (and you, and you) and I have our struggles and shortcomings. To be someone who confesses, however, reflects deep integrity. We want to grow closer to God, live in the freedom of Christ, and break down the walls that sin builds—confession does not tell others we are a sinner (because we all sin!), it tells others that we seek to live a more Christ-like life.
It is easy to fall into sin. The narrower path is living a life committed to confession. When someone in the community steps into the boldness and bravery of confession, others see its life-giving impact. They also want their burden removed, barriers crumbled, healing activated, and integrity deepened. When we witness others living a life that rejects sin’s power—and, therefore, entering into confession and repentance regularly—we will undoubtedly be inspired. The face of your entire community can change by one confession. Your honesty and authenticity in the name of Christ can bring about massive change!
While I still sometimes shudder at the thought of confession, I know enough to know it is not synonymous with shame. In fact, bringing my sin into the light is what will ignite freedom and healing in my life and my community.
Confession requires bravery, boldness, and humility—but the rewards are incalculable.
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I am Mallory—a wife, a writer, and a dog mom to Roger. I love dry humor, clean sheets, sunny days, and frequent reminders of grace. These days, I hang out at malloryredmond.com, where I tell my stories with the hope of uncovering places of connection in our humanity. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.