Confession — Part 4

In the previous post I discussed some of the problems regarding the common understanding of negative confessions. At the other end of the spectrum is a practice that is referred to as positive confession. Again, we need to be careful. On the one hand, it is good for us to reaffirm what is good and true. For example, “I am truly grateful that I am a child of God and that He wants to be with me.” We can all use reminders like this, and saying them out loud helps to train our mind to see that as our default perspective.

On the other hand, people are often encouraged to profess things they do not actually believe. For example, a person who is convinced they have done something unforgivable should not be asked to profess, “I believe God has forgiven me for everything” in an attempt to counter their difficulty with receiving God’s grace. That is basically an effort to bury their feelings and talk themselves out of what they actually believe. Besides the fact that this is not how change happens, such a practice is a form of denial and an attempt to repress what is going on inside their heart and mind. A much healthier and more biblical approach is to confess what they actually feel and ask God for His help in healing their broken experience.

If we remember that confession is basically telling God how we see something and asking Him to clarify our vision and show us what we do not yet see, then confession becomes just one step in an ongoing conversation with God, a way of participating with the light God wants to shine on our heart and soul. When practiced in total transparency, it opens a space for God to do what only He can do. In that way confession becomes a life-giving practice and not a form of self-abasement.

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