Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Confession is good for the soul…

…and not just the soul of the confessor! It is also good for those who are seeking to fill that God-shaped void inside themselves, and looking for reasons to invite Jesus into that void. The people with whom we share Christ need to hear about the grace we, as Christians, have been afforded. I still struggle with the prideful and pious attitude that keeps telling me that, because I wear a cross to represent my attachment to Jesus Christ, I must behave in a way that it beyond reproach. I beat myself up when I do something wrong because I feel it casts a bad light on my Lord. I constantly have to permit the Lord to remind me that only God’s behavior is ever beyond reproach, and it’s arrogant for me to ever think that mine is.

I believe this is part of the reason why God allows me to mess up so often. It permits His Holy Spirit opportunities to keep working on me to be more transparent about my failures. Because, although my bad behavior doesn’t glorify Him, His forgiveness of my behavior absolutely does! But it doesn’t do anybody else any good unless I tell them about it.

So, how should we confess? Transparency is key. I’m learning this from several individuals in my life. To be honest about our struggles is necessary to touch the hearts of those with the same or similar struggles. Details are not necessary. In fact, they’re undesirable – especially when the wrongdoing is graphic and/or controversial. We don’t want to glorify our sin or provide fodder for gossip mills. We want to glorify Jesus by showcasing His ability and desire to lavish forgiveness on us.

You may have seen this coming. I’m not just blogging about this topic because I have a feeling that someone needs to read these words. Although I do believe that is partly why I’ve been led to use this venue. But I’m primarily doing it out of obedience to my Lord and as an attempt at victory in my struggle with humility. Yes, I have my own confession to make. Actually, it’s more of an apology. And since I have no real means to get face-to-face with the individual to whom I owe this apology, I thought I’d offer it here and let it be an example, hopefully of better behavior.

The person I need to apologize to is Blake Shelton. You may have read my post a few days ago about attending his concert in Primm, NV. I mentioned that the security staff was wandering through the audience reminding people that they shouldn’t video record the show. I knew that because I was the one they asked not to record his performance. I won’t go into details or try to defend myself except to say that I wasn’t trying to be malicious or gain anything personally by recording. I don't say that to exonerate myself in any way. I say it to let you know that motive doesn’t matter. I was wrong. And I am truly sorry, Blake. I also offer an apology to the security staff that had to be watching the crowd for people like me who required a “talking to”. You guys should have been permitted to enjoy the music, too. I really am sorry, fellas.

I beat myself up mentally over this for several days. And the sad thing was, I had already confessed to the Lord at length and He extended grace immediately. IMMEDIATELY. He didn’t withhold forgiveness because I needed to be punished. He gave it lovingly and right away. But my own pride came into play, and I refused to accept His forgiveness by mentally punishing myself. Let this be an example to you, God is serious when He says, “you shall have no other gods before Me.” When we behave in a prideful and controlling way, we are idolizing ourselves and our egos must be knocked down a few pegs. Humbling exercises are never fun. My exercise happened to be a public confession and apology. But I praise the Lord that He turns embarrassing and potentially soul-threatening situations into opportunities to glorify Him. I pray that I’ve done that, here.

One last thing: is there something you need Him to forgive? Don’t wait another minute. You don’t need to provide details. You don’t even need to use this blog as a forum – but you can if you want to. Just confess. It will get your heart right with God. It will help you lose weight – it will take a weight off your shoulders, anyway. It may even draw someone who doesn’t know Jesus into a relationship with the Savior.

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