Confession is an age-old tradition and Christian mandate. Upon mention the word even tends to incite insane amounts of shame and dread.
I remember the times in Jr. High and High School at my church youth group where anytime the pastor spoke about the confession of sin, the whole room became extremely tense and introspective – our minds would start racing as we avoided eye contact with everyone and anyone until it was time to go home for the night!
Nowadays, though we realize the immense weight that lifts off our chest when we come to someone with something that we’re struggling with, we still avoid it like the plague.
Sadly, I hardly ever hear of people having friends in their life that they feel they can trust and share with while being totally vulnerable and honest. While finding a trustworthy person is few and far between; it’s worth the search for one.
Maybe we just don’t know how to confess in a way that makes us feel safe. Maybe we don’t even understand the benefits of confession.
This is where I can help!
While nothing in the Christian life is a formula, I want to give two steps to finding freedom in confession and doing it in a healthy and uplifting way.
First – Find a friend
A real one. Make them your accountability partner.
What’s an accountability partner?
An accountability partner is someone who will hold you to your highest standard. It’s a trustworthy person whom you know you can go to, with an honest heart, before or after something occurs. Someone who agrees not to shame you, but to meet you with kindness and cover you with prayer and encouragement. They listen to your convictions and help you live up to them.
“Accountability is an account-for-your-ability. Not an account for your disability. ” -Kris Vallotton
Reaching out to this “accountability partner” when you are simply feeling the temptation or trigger is wildly helpful. It can keep you from falling into sin the first place.
Second – Decide to stay in the light
Begin the process of honesty. First with yourself, then with the Lord, and then others. Learning to live in and maintain transparency is an incredibly freeing experience.
Get to know yourself and your triggers. Understand what it was that was lacking in your heart that caused you to tap into a source outside appropriate parameters.
Know when to close the computer, turn off the TV, leave your girlfriend/boyfriend’s house, step away from a situation that’s causing you to gossip, go into rage, etc.
When you fail – It’s an opportunity to create the most beautiful picture of letting someone witness your redemption.
The truth is that you don’t have to pay for your own forgiveness. There is no more penance to be made. It’s already been done on the cross. Your role in this is simply to accept the love and grace being offered to you at your most raw, messy, vulnerable place. Accept it and drink it in. You may not feel like you deserve it, but He called you worthy. Believe in His words.
Not to mention; your choice for bravery offers someone else that same chance. When you let yourself be seen, it tells a story to the people around you that says that it’s actually safe to be seen.
As an accountability partner for someone else, be kind. Be compassionate. Speak life over them. Point them to Jesus.
Tell them things like: “You are pure”, “You are loved”, “Jesus is not mad at you and I am not mad at you”, “Thank you for telling me, that was so brave”, “I’m proud of you for coming to the light and letting yourself be seen”.
Then encourage them to go to the Lord if they haven’t already. They need to hear from Jesus, Himself, that they are loved and forgiven.
Thats it. That’s all it takes.
Just remember, it doesn’t matter how many times you or anybody else fails, what matters is that we keep coming back. The light will transform a person but sometimes that transformation takes time.
Living in the light is absolutely one of the greatest and hardest choices I’ve ever made. Although there is so much more I could say about this topic, I hope that this, at the very least, inspires you to start thinking about what it would look like for you to be living in the light, too.