The 8th chp of Darryl Tippens’ Pilgrim Heart concerns yet another spiritual discipline that is designed for the Christian in community rather than just for the Christian alone. This chapter discusses confessing to one another and hearing the words of grace from one another.
He begins with the obvious: for many of us (I’m in this group) confession is not a group or verbal activity with another Christian. It is solo-solo: only between the person and God. One reason is this: “the Christian community’s demand for respectability often increases the dishonesty” of not confessing.
What do you think of confession? Advice?
Tippens makes this claim: “A Christian who is not confessional is in peril” and “An unconfessed Christian is an oxymoron” (100).
But here’s the reality: 1. Everyone is deeply hurt by others. 2. Everyone hurts others. 3. We have each offended God. Therefore, confession can be part of each of us. He tells a great story of going to a Day of Atonement service at a synagogue only to be asked to turn to someone and confess your sins and ask them for forgiveness. Anne, his wife, turned to him and asked him to forgive everything she had ever done — and he learned right there what confession was for.
He asks: “What if Yom Kippur is the right idea, but we just need it more often than once a year?” (104).
Confession heals. I love this observation: “Confession is not only to be heard, forgiveness is to be received.” And he suggests it is good and proper for fellow Christians to pronounce absolution in the name of Christ’s forgiving work for us.