At some point in the past twenty years we have become people who like to air our dirty laundry. This phrase, 'dirty laundry', used to fascinate me as a child. I imagined it literally and feared that someone might accidentally see my dirty underwear or something! But, I did understood the point: there were certain things you must keep private.
While this advice is wise in some cases, it can also lead to private suffering and a lack of help and resolution in others. Perhaps the past generation kept too much to themselves, but my current one often lacks discretion, and even class. The blogosphere offers opportunities to share our private lives and if we air our dirty laundry then we're guaranteed more readers! Reality TV has exploited this expertly. Even Christian songs and books have joined along as their best-sellers encourage us in our brokenness. And, yet, being broken is very important for us before the Lord...
Confession is glorious! When we see our sin and admit it before the Lord, He is
to forgive us and cleanse us from that sin!
In other words, confession is that first step in agreeing with God: "Yes, I'm a sinner and I need YOU to make me right, make me whole." Confession is airing our dirty laundry to God (and sometimes to others who need to hear it as well) with the purpose of being made right with Him.
Here's where the problem happens, though. If we claim brokenness and stop there, then we are denying the power of God. Saying, "I'm broken, You're broken, We're all broken" is hopeless! We must start there, but never remain there.
Another problem that can arise with this 'we're all messes mindset' is that confession can become easy...or even cheapened. I remember the first time I was in a group of women and we confessed our sins in prayer. It was so intimidating. I didn't want to share my ugliness, even if I did trust these friends and know that God would forgive me and cleanse me. However, when I did confess, there was encouragement from the others to trust Jesus and fight that sin. Their prayers and accountability helped me move forward in my faith walk.
However, it may be possible to become well-acquainted with confession and think it all ends there. Everyone confesses their sins then we move on, right? Well, that depends. Are we just getting that sin off our chests? Are we going along with the prayer flow? Has this become more of a therapy session?
...or, are we earnestly admitting we are grievous sinners with the understanding that I need to seek repentance and walk out in the fruit of that repentance?
We are immersed in a world that doesn't feel the sting of sharing our sins. Many glorify their sins; most deny they are even considered sins. In the church, are we confessing our sins and our great need for Jesus Christ? May we do this more and more! And, then, may we move forward in the power of the Holy Spirit to fight these sins to their deaths. This is glorious fruit that reveals genuine repentance.