Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Confession: Getting by with some help from my friends...and God too!

Image from the blog "A view from the balcony."
Confession is a key step in conversion. Confession is repentance actualized.

How do you talk about confession? Clearly it isn't your place to say to a friend,"Here are the issues I see in your life. You need to name these issues, offer then to God in repentance and ask for forgiveness." Your friend would say rightly, "Who are you to tell me what is wrong in my life?"
In fact, you probably don't want to talk about confession directly at all. What is helpful is simply to talk about the issues in your own life and the power of confession for you. In other words you model confession instead of talking about it. The response of your friend is up to him or her, but by your openness you have given your friend the option and the right to be open with you.

What role, if any, did confession (of sin, need or longing) play a part in your own coming to be a follower of Christ?

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The more I think about confession, the more I think it is or should be the hinging characteristic in the christian life. When I was an enthusiastic teenager, I somehow ended up thinking that as I matured in my faith that I would become more and more independent. I used to tell my Mom from a very young age, "No Mom I'd rather do it myself!" Somehow along the way, I'm better gaining the understanding that as people mature in faith in Christ, they become more dependent or close to Jesus - not less.
Today I think I'd be more likely to say, "I might rather try to do things myself, but now I know I can't - so will you help me?"

Confession is something that falls in the category of humility. Not confessing our sin comes from a place of avoidance, pride and self-reliance. In western society epically, I think that it is difficult to foster an attitude of community because of this fact. People function in a place of individual focus and maintainability, so that the sharing of life can become difficult to accomplish.

The truth of the matter is that we all need each other - even though many times our lives don't reflect that fact. Through confession, I think relationships can thrive and true christian community can be fostered. Without confession to God and others the attempt at living a christian life would be fruitless.
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This discussion is an extension of an small group ministry of First Lutheran Church of Jamestown, NY. We are reading and discussing the book Holy Conversations face-to-face each Wednesday at noon and on Facebook throughout the week. Please feel free to join in on the conversation each week!