confession and prayer, part 1

Do you have a hard time confessing your sin?

I think we have four main responses when it comes to the questions: “How are you doing?  Are you struggling in any areas?  How can I pray for you? 

We either 1) give a flat, “Nope, I’m good,” 2) we give a token confession 3) we change the subject or, 4) we really answer the questions with life-sharing and confession.  

In the first case of complete denial, maybe we’re thinking, as the Lord brings to mind something worth confessing, “I confess it to you Lord, after all, it’s against you and you alone that I have sinned; why bother bringing these folks into it?  Why do they need to know that I’ve been a big complainer lately?”

I am guilty of this.

Or, we give a token confession.  When faced with intruding questions we might say, “I’m pretty good but I’ve been having a hard time keeping my sock drawer organized. (That’s a token confession; it’s of secondary importance.)

Or, we do the classic change of subject and say, “Oh yes, please pray for my uncle’s wife’s sister who will be traveling over Easter.” (While that may be valid, it’s still a dodge.)

The command to, “confess your sins to one another, and pray for each other,” is for our good.  Yet, even though I know this, pride and self-protection can get in my way.  Pride is simple and poisonous.  It says, “I care more about appearing good to these people than about obeying God and doing what He says is good for me.” 

And self-protection (which is more my problem) says, “They won’t understand; they’ll judge me instead of love me.  They’ll gossip about me.”  I would say a certain degree of self-protection is wise.  We should pick trustworthy Christians to confess our sin to.  But if this is established, the excuses become just that, excuses.

Also, the more protective we are of ourselves in sharing with others, the more protective the people around us will be of themselves.  If my big problem is that I can’t get my socks in good working order, then the person next to me may have trouble admitting they can’t seem to get their life in working order.

God’s been working on this area of my life.  What was a normal part of life in HS and college became uncomfortable and hard with the unfamiliar friends that go along with big life changes.  My husband has been a good example.  And I’m blessed to have people around me who make this seem easier and more routine.  

And God isn’t looking down in disgust at our sin laid out.  He already knows it all and He paid the price for it.  It’s a done deal.  I’m His and Christ has finished the work of sin payment.  So when He sees us confessing to one another, He sees obedient children doing what is good for their soul.

Next time I want to look at the fourth response, and, the essential place of prayer.

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