As much as I’m sometimes tempted to believe otherwise, if I want to become increasingly whole and free, I have to let others know me fully, including confessing my sins.
A half-veiled life—a life where I hold all the cards, orchestrate who knows what, decide what will make me better and what won’t—doesn’t work.
For a long time I believed that stepping into the light with my sins—especially the ones I was most ashamed of—was too risky. So I hid my sin, determining to put it behind me before uttering a word about it to anyone.
But life needs light. Sin and death thrive in darkness. It’s their natural habitat.
When Adam and Eve sinned for the first time, they scrambled to hide themselves from each other. Today, we race for updated versions of the fig leaf: career, social circles, makeup, fitness, knowledge, independence, religious-looking activities. Insubstantial to cover us, they demand we step carefully, hold ourselves just so, and for goodness sake, never let down our guard lest we be exposed.
Confession invites us to lay our fig leaves down.
God comes toward fig leaf covered sinners, just like He did in Genesis.
He didn’t come to scare them. And when He questioned them, it wasn’t to shame them.
When Adam and Eve confessed (and they offered a phenomenally pathetic confession, we might note), He exchanged their fig leaves for clothing made of flesh. He drew first blood, a sacrificial death to remove their shame and cover them.
Likewise, God doesn’t invite us to confess our sins to one another to shame us. He wants restored relationship with us and between us.
I know, the step from darkness to light can feel impossible, the risks too great. But as we take that risk, and then as we begin to make a habit of telling the whole truth about ourselves, sin and shame lose their grip. (If you’re not sure where to begin, you can call us.)
I have come to believe there is little more important to life, health, freedom, and relationships than regular, truthful confession.
There, in the presence of Christ and my brothers and sisters, we lay down our fig leaves and say plainly the wrongs we have done. Shame rises momentarily, threateningly, the last flicker of a flame before it dies away. And we arise clean and clothed in Christ.
Question: What helps you tell the truth to others about sins in your life? Or if you don’t, what would help you? Leave a comment below.