Tuesday, February 23, 2010
A few years back the Pastor of the church I was attending was giving a message on confession. In the sanctuary strategically placed were four huge wooden crosses. I didn’t pay them much attention figuring that they must be part of the set for the upcoming Easter celebration. At one point during the sermon we were told that if we had anything that we needed to confess to God, anything at all, we should write it down on a small piece of paper. “By the cross,” he said, “you will find a hammer, just nail your confession to the cross and leave it with Jesus.” People started going forward with their scraps of paper. At first there was some tentative tapping from the first few. A little ping here, a gentle tap there. As it went on though, the tapping turned into what sounded more like angry pounding. It began to sound like a construction site as the hammer blows echoed off the walls!
It was there that my very strange sense of humor betrayed me and I let out a muffled giggle. I was instantly elbowed. I couldn't help it. I was positive I was going to hear an electric drill fire up next. Maybe it was nervous laughter. After the service I found out that some people were extremely moved to tears as they heard the pounding of the nails and were relieved of their burden. The next Sunday the crosses were still there, the confessions plastered all over them. I suppressed a morbid urge to go up and read them. Is it because I want to know that others struggle with the same things I struggle with?
With all church practices, we need to go to the Bible to get our rules about Christian conduct, for that is our “rule book” per se. So I did. I came up with 53 references in the New Testament and 51 references in the Old Testament, right off the bat.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
So according to Scripture and all the references I found, it would seem that God cares a great deal about confession, both confession to Him and one another. What is it about confession that is SO difficult? We try to stuff it down and it just gets bigger, like a self inflatable mattress in our soul. We think maybe we will ignore it. It takes on a life of it's own and begins to affect everything else in our lives.
It used to be a common practice to stand in front of the entire church body and confess. Could we even imagine that happening now?
Satan knows that confession makes us free and he will try to do everything he can to keep us from unloading our burdens. He whispers all kinds of scary scenarios to us to keep us from being free. He wants us to think we can fight the battle alone in isolation. Confession is the beginning of restoration, and there are times we need to confess to God, and there are times we need to confess to one another. There is tremendous power in it!
I confess with tears today:
Forgive me Lord for lying.
I tossed out what I thought was a
harmless lie, but I know that no lie
is truly harmless, it hurts You and it
hurts me and the one I lied to.
When I told that man that I would look
at his petition at the library "on the way
out" I knew that I had no intention of
stopping. Why didn't I just say I was
Forgive me also Lord for wondering why
certain individuals are still on the
Who made me God? What makes me think that
my days are any more important than theirs?
You number all of our days, Lord. You hold
them all in Your hand. If they are still
living, breathing, then there must be a
reason, for it is by Your great mercy
that we all still live.
Their time is no less precious than mine.
Help my heart be open to see and address
needs of others in my path....
In Jesus name, Amen
Ezekiel 11:19 "And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh....