“Confession is one of God’s ways of strengthening us in our faith.” (1)
I have always found confession to be a humbling experience. Thus, when I read Hannah Smith’s declaration that confession strengthens our faith, I took pause.
My aversion to confession is natural, as I assume it is for all. Three childhood sins remain vivid in my memory.
I forged a school note, twice, once with my Dad’s signature and then with my Mom’s. After the second attempt at my crime, the school called home. Since Dad was at work and Mom could not hear, my oldest brother had the delight of reporting the news of my sin to Mom. I still remember my tears and shame when I had to confess to Mom face-to-face. She responded with tender grace.
After a heated discussion with my other brother, I accidentally caused a sharp object to tear through a painting my Mom had been working on for months. I waited in wretched fear of having to tell my Mom what happened. To have died first would have been easier. Surprisingly, she was thrilled to hear the news. The painting had been a pain-in-the-_____ to her and she was glad to be done with it. At least that is what she told me.
The third sin has yet to be confessed, unless a childhood buddy broke our blood-vow not of silence. I was for confession, but my buddies were not. Even then I knew secret sins eventually became known. The sin? My buddies and I caused a fire inside of a friend’s playhouse, burning the furnishings. My buddies lived in fear that if we confessed, we would have been dead meat. Thus the blood-vow which, I confess I just broke.
My Mom covered my sin and shame with her grace. It was not what expected. I still carry the shame of the third sin. Perhaps this is why I now more easily confess my sins.
I prefer grace to shame, even punishment is better than shame.
In his first letter, John writes:
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (2)
God greets our confessed sin with grace.
Confession does not lessen the severity of sin, but it does lighten the load of sin. God, in His grace, removes the dead weight of our sin and restores us to life, temporal and eternal.
Sin does affects us, as this bit of poetry suggests:
Sin has been hammering my heart
Unto a hardness, void of love … (3)
Hannah Smith knew what she is talking about. Sin confessed in shame finds strength when it is placed on the cross of God’s grace.