“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)
It is amazing what living openly and honestly with ourselves, our God, and one another will do for us, if we are courageous enough to do it. That’s why confession is so important; it does not lead to guilt and shame, but to freedom and joy.
But still we hide. We hide our sin, we fail to acknowledge our weakness, and we cover up our flaws and our failures. And, thus, we end up alone. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it so well: “Pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone in our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!” We live as prisoners in our own lives, not as those who have been redeemed and set free. As one of my good friends once said: “God can’t help fake people, only real ones.”
So we must somehow learn to live real lives before ourselves, before one another, and before our God. We must be willing to live from the truth of our inner being, whatever it may be. We must be brave enough to put our real selves out there on a regular basis, and let our God and our friends get their hands, and their hearts, involved in our mess. That is the only way it can ever be redeemed and transformed. We must learn to keep it real. That’s what confession is all about. It is meant to help redeem and restore us. It is meant to lead us to joy and freedom: “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!” So let’s start today!
Help me, O Lord, to live a real life today, not a fake one. Give me the strength and the grace and the courage to come out of hiding and live openly and honestly with you, with myself, and with my community. For only then can I live in the joy and the freedom you created me for. Amen.