Confession Is Good for the Soul- Or Is It?
Happy Fall, everyone!
If your fall has been anything like ours, it has
been busy- school, fall activities, hunting season, family time, and birthdays have been just some of the things going on here. In all the busy days, I hope you have also had times for reflection, prayer, and studying God's word.
Recently, someone posed the question, "How has prayer, specifically confession, brought you closer to Jesus?"
As I was considering this question, the phrase, "Confession is good for the soul" popped into my head. We generally think of confession as admitting to someone about something we have done wrong- ways we have broken trust or relationship. Certainly that is a true assessment.
But, as I have mulling it over, I began to think that confession involves so much more than confession of sin (though that is incredibly necessary!). These other confessions-depending to whom we address them- will determine how we approach those confessions.
For example, if l am in a rough patch with my husband, and instead of talking to him about it or getting appropriate counsel, I let out steam to my mom or sister (if I had one) or best friend. Now, this type of confession initially gets us nowhere, except perhaps to get our feelings validated by someone else.
Now, hold with me here.
Back to confession being good for the soul. While, in a way, true, the clinching factor of whether or not it is good, is to whom we confess it.
If I confess it (as shown above) to someone who cannot help me or provide answers to that confession, that confession is not helpful.
Let's go a bit further.
Confession of sin.
Let's say I sinned and I confess it, but not entirely. I admit to my husband that I kind of didn't all the way tell the truth (but still leave parts out)- or I tell my friend I forgot something, when I didn't really- then, that confession accomplishes nothing.
However, if we confess our sins- in name and in full acceptance of them to the One who can actually do something with them- who can-and has!- forgiven them in me, then truly that confession is good for my soul.
That confession- knowing whatever I have done has been seen in its most glaring and disgusting forms has been totally and completely forgiven- truly brings good to my soul.
That which is not good cannot bring me good.
Someone justifying my sin or excusing my sin is not good. Someone not knowing and continuing to hide my guilt is not good. Someone affirming me in my decisions and fears without knowing them or me or my situation certainly is not good.
Good, in its fullest, truest form can only come from that which is good. And, that which is good can only come from One who is good- God himself.
That's not you and that's not me.
That's not what society tells me or what my friend or neighbor tells me.
It's not even, necessarily, what my friends or family tell me.
This is why it is crucially important that our "confessions", while necessary toward others, must first be brought before the One who redeems those confessions for good.
This includes confessions of sin.
Confessions of fear. Confessions of sorrow or pain. Confessions of feelings of inadequacy and doubt.
Instead of depending on my friend or my husband or my pastor or my mom to give me all the answers to my fears and confessions, I find my heart depending and trusting not in them, but in the one who does use them for good. This brings my heart and mind closer to him, to his goodness. This helps me understand my circumstances and brings my fears into perspective.
Romans 8 is a great comforting passage. Not only does the passage remind us of our sins being forgiven, but also, the passage reminds us nothing can separate us from God and his love, that he works all things together for good, to accomplish his purposes.
So, going back to that initial question, I ask you- "How has prayer-specifically confession- brought you closer to Jesus?"
Have you experienced his bringing you to confession of sin and your need for a Savior? Have you felt his nearness in your confessions of fear? Have you felt his peace as you have confessed doubts and anxieties and inadequacies? Have you felt his love in times of abandonment and confusion? Have you known his truth in confessions of unbelief? Have you tasted his forgiveness in your sin and failings?
This is what prayers of confession can do for us. These confessions bring us to Jesus- in every situation. This is why prayer is necessary for us. It brings us closer, with each confession, to the one one who allows, invites, and redeems our confessions to, truly, be good for our souls.
Start confessing. Start with even the seemingly small confessions- he hears and knows and understands each one. Determine to go to him first and not your phone. Purpose to cry out to him before you cry to someone else. He will not fail you, and your words will not surprise him. He longs to hear you and bring you to a fuller and deeper understanding of who he is to you.
"O, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" Psalm 34:8
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not with him graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:31-32
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
I John 1:9
Songs for Meditation: