It takes courage to be honest about your failures and flaws. I admire those that can take ownership of their “stuff”. If we are honest, most of us like to put on the “I’ve got my stuff together” face and think we are fooling folks. Well, we may get away with it – for a while. But we are all flawed. We have all messed up somewhere along the way and if we think we haven’t, we are fooling ourselves.
Anyway, I like to be in the company of people who have messed up and are able to talk about it in appropriate ways. When talking about our stuff we can only talk about our own stuff – not someone elses’. That turns quickly to playing the victim blaming, gossipping, bitterness, resentment. It’s not a good place to be. (I read a great quote about resentment from Rick Warren, “When you hold onto resentment you let people live in youur mind rent free.”) I don’t know about you but I have only so much space in my mind and can’t afford to let resentment use any!
Perhaps you have tried to be honest about your failures and got burned in the process. It is scary to open up to people – its a risk of being black-balled or marginalized. Someone once said “The Church is the only army that shoots its wounded.” My comment is that they are lucky if they get shot - usually they just get buried alive and are left to suffocate!
But last week I had a great experience with a roomful of strangers at the 3rd “Life-Giving Leadership Round Table”. It was held in Annapolis, hosted by Dr. Fred Antonelli and facilitated by Dr. Ted Haggard. I suppose there were about 50 folks there. Mostly pastors, counsellors, teachers…all concerned about how the Church can best minister to those who have messed up – especially leaders. It was great to be with folks that share my passion. And each one had a story – we all do – some are messier than others but they are all messy – like mine. So many shared from their pain, their hearts – not for the sake of themselves but to showcase the outrageous grace of God.
Anyway, I have often though that Protestants should get back into confession. We were made for it. Not too long ago I had been emailing back and forth with a wise, seasoned pastor/counsellor friend of mine as I struggled with some issues. At one point he wrote, “You are forgiven in the name of Jesus”. How healing that was for me! The Bible tells us, “Confess your sins to one another that you may be healed.” Why do we ignore that? Or think maybe if it is for anything we think it’s a last resort for physical healing. When was the last time you confessed? It’s important to find a safe place. Ted told us that he was told by a wise pastor, “Never confess your sins to someone who won’t confess theirs to you.” Good advice.
But I learned about confessionbooth.com. What a great idea! Wish I had thought of it. A place on the web you can go and remain absolutely annonymous and confess whatever you need to. Try it and let me know…was it awkward? Was if helpful? Would you do it again? Did you hear from God in the process? Did it make a difference to you?
Remember God doesn’t have a junk pile but a restoration workshop and display case. Isn’t that great news?!