When I think of confession the first thing that comes to mind is something from a movie. A person goes into this little room with a priest in another room. There is a screen between the two and the person confesses to the priest. This is what they did in the movies. I am not catholic so I do not know if confession is still done in the manor in the Catholic Church. I guess I will have to call up some of my catholic friends and ask.
As someone not raise in any church I did not learn about confession. It was never something that was taught to me. I never gave it much thought. Actually I never gave confession in a formal sense any thought until recently. As I have contemplated the concept of confession I realized it is something I had been practicing for a very long time I just did not know that was what I was practicing. It is one of the reasons I feel a need for Christian fellowship or Christian counseling. For this is a place I could let everything out. Expose all the smelly, ugly things in my life. I think all the Christians I’ve meet probably think I smell like a pig sty.
At the heart of confession is a declaration of your need for Christ. It is admittance that you are a sinner. That you need the blood of Christ to cleans you. It is admittance that it is only through Christ you are able to become acceptable before a Holy God. When we declare this to God we are confessing our sin, it is through that that we are able to receive God’s grace offered to Jesus. It is only through Jesus that we are able to receive the grace of God.
So why do we ever confess to another believer? Why do we have the tradition of confessing to a minister? Why is confession even practiced in the church when we can simply kneel down in our home and confess to God quietly ourselves? I do not know if this is right but it is what I have come to terms with.
We do not have to confess our sins to another believer for God to grant us his forgiveness. He has already offered it freely with the death of Jesus on the cross. But we humans often do need this. Similar it is through another believer indwelled with the Holy Spirit that is able to act as a body of Christ, a tangible person in our lives. This person then is able to respond to our confession with grace, mercy, accountability and prayer support.
We often fall into patterns within our lives of sin. We then continue to repeat the same sin over and over. We may confess the sin in quiet between ourselves and God. We receive forgiveness but Satan is cleaver. He deceives, tempts and confuses us. We fall into a pattern of repeating the same sin. In doing so we are not truly living a life of freedom in Christ. We are not walking the way Jesus says we should walk. We are not living a life of repentance. We are simply living in sin.
When we humble ourselves enough to confess our sin to another believer it helps us to break the cycle. You now have someone else in your life able to help you break free. Confession to another believer is as much about helping each other, carrying each other’s burdens and mutually submitting ourselves to the lord in unity as it is about forgiveness of sins. Another believer does not forgive our sins but they can help us live victorious lives in Christ.
I personally think that confession can be done with any believer indwelled with the Holy Spirit. It can be done at the diner table. On a walk in the park or in a church. I feel like my christian counselors have often served as this person. I guess I have a very liberal view of what can constitute as confession to another believer. But I think it is good to have someone whom you feel safe, comfortable, and trust to help you break free from the chains of sin without judgement or providing further temptation.
It is only through the blood of Jesus we can receive forgiveness for our sins. We often need someone to act as a body of Christ to help us live holy lives and free from the bondage of sin.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16