Posted by: Ken Brown | March 10, 2008

Confess Your Sins…

Charlie at AnotherThink has written an excellent post on Christian “hypocrisy” and the importance of confession:

Walk into almost any Christian congregation in America and you’ll find kind, smiling people, well-dressed and freshly-scrubbed. You’ll discover families holding hands, beautiful babies cooing and gurgling, fluffy puppies frolicking in the aisles, giggling children and the bluebird of happiness blowing kisses of good cheer to all.

Ok, so I lied about the puppies; you get the picture.

Back home, the scene can be sadly different. Husbands and wives don’t speak to each other — or worse, only communicate in the cruelest of ways. Children rebel against parental authority and are sucked into all the risky adventures our drug- and sex-crazed world can dream up. We pretend everything is fine; inside we live in pain….

What would happen if we took off our masks and talked about the things we’re ashamed of, the things that make us weep in the darkness, the things that have power over us? Not in front of the whole church, but in a private conversation with someone we can trust?

We pray to be healed from disease. We pray for protection when we travel. How often do we go to someone we’ve hurt, apologize and ask for forgiveness? How often do we admit that some compulsion, some addiction, some temptation has grabbed us and shaken us senseless? And if we did, would we be treated with compassion or condemnation?

Catholics are much better about this that we Protestants (though confession can become a mere formality for them as well), and we have a lot to learn from them. The trouble, as noted in the comments, is not just that we don’t often confess our sins to one another (at least not the ones that really need to be confessed), but that we too often lack the compassion and humility to respond appropriately when people do admit their darkest secrets. God have mercy.


  1. Thank you for the link, Ken.

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