Adam Hince

The musings of Syndal Baptist Church's Gen Y and Beyond Pastor

“I have something to confess….”

Posted on | June 28, 2010 | 2 Comments

Usually when I read that as a headline – I get either curious, or nervous. Either way it suggests that something I don’t know is about to become known! Confession is something that has an uncomfortable, uneasy and unnatural edge to it for me – it always has. So when someone else does it, or has to do it … then I tend to listen and feel for them greatly.

Last night, at Syndal Baptist – I shared from a story you will find in the Book of Acts, chapter 19. Every word of the story is valuable, but we focused most of our time on just a snapshot of what happened when a group of people encountered the grace and power of Jesus for themselves. The story tells us that “many who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds” (Acts 19:18).  They came and shared their secrets, they admitted their mistakes, they were honest about their inner and outer lives, they brought into the light that which had been in the dark.

A few things about this in the story…

It was a choice. Nobody forced them to, it wasn’t a “rite of passage” either. I wonder if as it started, people started to feel permission to be open themselves? I wonder if people as people saw the effect of what was happening (People being free? People being loved? People being helped?) they wanted that same result in their own lives?

It was public. No booth, no quietness of the heart… a public hearing! This must have been an amazing gathering… so much authenticity, honesty and trust – and so much hope!

It was costly. I’ll write more about this another day – but the story tells us that as well as telling people what had been going on, people brought out the things with which they had been doing evil. In that culture – it was lots to do with witchcraft and the occult – and the spells that they destroyed would have been worth millions! Jesus Christ did make it really clear that following Him would be costly… and not just to Him.

 It was an action. It wasn’t just words. Following Jesus and responding to grace demands action. Too often I have craved a passive road where Jesus will sort out my issues for me, when the thing He is waiting for is for me to respond to Him and simply follow Him in action.

 It was effective. The story finishes with an inspiring phrase – “in this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power”. The “this” points people back to what has just been said in the original language, and suggests that it was this openness, this action, this confession that was a vehicle for God being able to do increasingly more work in the lives of people.

As a follower of Jesus, confession is something that I have always known about and been encouraged to do in different ways. My understanding of it has grown significantly, from it being something that happened between me and God – towards being something that is an essential part of growing and developing. Following Jesus is challenging – He invites me to live  in a way that is different to what my nature often craves, in way different to many of the lives that I observe (or especially saw during High School and Uni years) and in ways that sometimes seem just plain impossible.  But – the thing I keep learning about Jesus invitation and challenge for my life, is that He bases all His expectations on what He can do, not just what I can achieve. This principle in itself is something I am still trying to grasp!

Confession is often spoken of as some kind of “cleansing of the soul” … something we do to purge guilt, something that allows us to feel less guilty (because we have confessed), or even as if it’s a necessary “rite of passage” on the way to being forgiven. Its often private – either just a 1:1 with God (“in the quietness of your heart” I’ve often heard people say in church services), or for my Catholic friends a 1:1 in a booth. Both are valid, but both incomplete in terms of what the bible teaches about the power, need and effect of confession.

Confession is a part of what I do with some trusted friends. Not because I must, but because I can.

How do you feel about it?

Have a look at this clip ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgmQM9cDPHk ) for an example what I don’t think confession is meant to be like!

This story reminds me that confession can be life giving, celebratory, even inspirational. It brings accountability, it brings help and motivation, it breaks down the strength of addiction and outside pressures. Confession is hard too. When I face the prospect of doing it – I feel …

–          Embarrassed… I fear that I will share something that nobody else ever struggles with.

–          Proud… I worry about people thinking less of me.

–          Fearful… of what people might do with the information.

–          Frustrated… the outcomes might be inconvenient or demanding.

But none of those are good reasons to not do it, when compared with the power, strength and freedom that it provides.

I’m not sure that we all need to confess everything to everyone all the time. I’m not sure about “YouTube confessionals” either… but I am sure that in my life – the confession of sin with trusted friends has been a great habit for me to pursue.

I think it’s something to consider! Next time, I’ll write some more about the “how” of this.

I’d love to hear your questions or thoughts about it!

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Comments

2 Responses to ““I have something to confess….””

  1. Andrew
    June 28th, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

    When I became a Christian, I had a lot of possetions that I had to get rid of. Most notably for me was a percentage of my music collection and a pile of magazines had to be destroyed.

    When Catherine (my wife) became a Christian, she came from a background in the new age. Her room was filled with horoscopes, books of spells, buddhas and other “gods”, and many other books, CDs and items. We burned them all. I had an outdoor wood burning bbq and we created a mighty hot bonfire and burned them. Catherine never had to be told that she had to get rid of them by anyone. Her conviction of sin led her to rid herself of these things as a step of repentance.

  2. Holly
    June 28th, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

    I definatly felt all of those things when I shared my testimony with syndal, even though I had already shared it with others already. The confession for me though, was about how much I loved God rather than any sin. Putting my faith out there was scary. I’ve held back openly telling people why I love him so much because doing so puts me in a position where people could attack my faith and it means more to me than anything. But I also found out that trusting God by doing that means that he can be all over it all the time, so there isnt really anything to fear because hes bigger than anything anyone could say to discourage me.

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