By including the following prayer of confession (from The Book of Common Prayer) in my morning prayer liturgy, I am reminded of my sins and God’s grace and forgiveness.
Remembering my sins and God’s grace affects how I treat people throughout the day. How can I judge others when I sin, too? When I have had God’s grace generously poured out on me, how can I not share that grace with others?
I cannot imagine beginning the day without praying this prayer.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Some days the last thing reading the Psalms brings me is comfort.
So. Much. Violence.
Sometimes I am tempted to stop reading altogether.
But I read on.
Then come those days when I recognize I have violence in my own heart.
And on those days, I find comfort in the Psalms.
David Letterman asked a rock star if he regretted the large tattoo of his supermodel wife’s name across his chest since they had since divorced. The rocker answered, “No, you have to own the time.” Wise words. Rather than looking back at mistakes with regret-fueled cover-up plans, we should “own the time” to maximize our growth. Confession grows our souls.
“It’s better to admit you are a mutt than pretend you are a poodle.”
Why do we do it?
We wear masks.
We put on airs.
We play act.
We claim to be something we are not.
We profess to be someone we are not.
Again, why do we do it?
And what does it say about us?
Often the only one you are fooling is yourself.
The only one I am fooling is me.
What benefit is there to this self-deception?
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
What does our denial say about our understanding of God?
Doesn’t our refusal to confess reveal a lack of confidence in God’s forgiveness?
Doesn’t our reluctance to stop pretending betray a distrust of God?
“If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts” (1 John 1:10 NLT).
So why don’t we just confess?
Rather than deceiving ourselves…
And calling God a liar.
God is faithful.
God sees our sin, even our secrets.
God is full of mercy.
God is quick to forgive.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:10).
So what are we hiding?
What secrets am I keeping?
What sins are you concealing?
Will we confess?
Owning our sins and opening our hearts to God?
Remember, when we confess our sin, we are affirming our trust in God.
Trust in God’s love.
Trust in God’s mercy.
Trust in God’s grace.
Trust in God’s forgiveness.
Trust in God’s word.
“In confession the breakthrough to community takes place….If a Christian is in the fellowship of confession with a brother, he will never be alone again, anywhere.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Some relationships are superficial. We talk about the weather. We complain about politicians. We question the opinion leaders. We brag about our favorite teams. But we never get beneath the surface to matters of the heart.
Other relationships begin as superficial — we talk, complain, question, and brag–but grow into deeper relationships where matters of the heart can be safely disclosed.
So how do we transition from superficial relationships to spiritual-community relationships? In addition to talking, complaining, questioning, and bragging, we confess.
Confession often provides the breakthrough needed to take a relationship deeper. When we finally take the risk to open up our hearts and divulge our fears and failures, our secrets and sins, we often discover a safe haven where we can share true fellowship.
Will we settle for superficial, surface relationships?
Will we take the risk to confess?
High risk? Yes, of course.
High reward? Yes. You really have to experience the fellowship of confession to appreciate the security resulting from a breakthrough to community.