Yesterday morning the sky was so beautiful as I drove down the highway to work. I don’t mind the forty minute commute at 7 am, because that is my favorite time of the day. I drive with the AC on low and the windows down about half way; I can feel the fresh air but still catch bursts of the AC in case of suffocation from the Indiana humidity.
I usually listen to a podcast on my way to work, but yesterday morning I drove in silence. God was waiting on me to start the conversation. I decided to go first since he wasn't saying much. “God, I know your Word says to confess my sin, but I feel so guilty, and I’m sorry.” What was I sorry for? I couldn’t say it out loud. It’s not like I committed some heinous crime, but I felt too ashamed to say it.
I decided to end the conversation after “I’m sorry” and felt justified; but my spirit wasn’t satisfied. He still wasn't saying too much so I continued, “I know what I did was not pleasing to you but I did it anyways.” As I went on to be more specific in my confession with God, Micah 7:19 came to mind, that God casts our sins into the depths of the sea. The Message Version is so beautiful:
Where is the god who can compare with you—
wiping the slate clean of guilt,
Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear,
to the past sins of your purged and precious people?
You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long,
for mercy is your specialty. That’s what you love most.
And compassion is on its way to us.
You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing.
You’ll sink our sins
to the bottom of the ocean.
As I was standing in line at Chipotle on my lunch break, God showed me that the first evidence of confession was in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they hid from God. God asked a rhetorical question “where are you?”, but he is omnipresent; He knew exactly what happened and exactly where they were but he needed them to confess.
As I sat down last night to write out my thoughts, I realized that there was more I needed to say out loud. Things that I’ve already went to God about and received forgiveness for but never dared utter to anyone else. It was time. I’ve been holding on to these secrets for so long and I’ve watched how God has brought me out and I want to share my story. But before I could write them down for everyone to see, I needed to have the courage to say it out loud.
I called someone who is very close to me to meet up so I could get some things off my chest. The problem is, just like my morning drive with God, I couldn’t get it out. In my mind I knew exactly what I wanted to say but of course what I said sounded ridiculous.
It is one thing to fear what God thinks of you; at the end of the day I can have peace that he still loves me, has mercy on me and he understands, even when my words don’t come out right. It’s a whole other thing when you confess things to a person who may or may not understand. If I had such a hard time being specific with God, what made me think I could be specific in my confession with someone who is not God?
As I sat beside this individual regurgitating my secrets in tears, I’m not sure what I expected their response to be. Maybe since twelve hours earlier my confession to God was followed with a sweet whisper of the Holy Spirit “I love you and I’m so glad you confide in me. Now go in peace because you are forgiven”. I suppose I thought I would get a similar gentle response from this person. I wanted them to wrap me in their arms as my tears flowed and express to me how brave I was for telling them and how proud they were of me for the journey I’m on. My flesh wanted a round of applause. I again felt justified, but not satisfied.
James 5:16 (NLT)
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that YOU may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (Emphasis mine)
As I woke up this morning reflecting on the difference in responses, man v. God, I realized that my confession was not for that person to receive necessarily; rather it was for my own healing. It was clear to me that what we don’t always understand, but God does understand.
When the time comes for me to expose these truths in more detail, I can be confident that those who are meant to receive it will receive it in love and know there is hope and healing in confession.
Psalm 126:5 (KJV)
They that sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy
Overtime, I know that the more I confess those things I’ve sowed in tears, I will eventually be able to share it in a more graceful way (not with tears and snot running down my face). I can shout in joy that I am overcoming these hurdles of depression and pain from my past. I want others to know that there is power in confession. It’s okay to release those things that have been eating away at your soul. Everyone may not understand, but God does and he will set you free. I promise.
Thank you for joining me in my journal to Finding Grace...
Enjoy the journey