DayBreaks for 12/01/15: Isolated and Alone
Confession is a lost art and sorely neglected discipline. I believe we’re missing out on a great blessing from God in our failure to be open and honest with one another. Sure, it can be very painful if you confess to someone who is a tattle-tail or a gossiper, but when confession is done properly in the context of a body of trusted believers, it should be a time of refreshing, not of guilt or shame.
Why do we struggle so to be open about our sinfulness? Richard Foster, in Celebration of Discipline, may have hit it on the head: Confession is a difficult discipline for us because we all too often view the believing community as a fellowship of saints before we see it as a fellowship of sinners. We feel that everyone else has advanced so far into holiness that we are isolated and alone in our sin. We cannot bear to reveal our failures and shortcomings to others. We imagine that we are the only ones who have not stepped onto the high road to heaven. Therefore, we hide ourselves from one another and live in veiled lies and hypocrisy.
The problem most certainly comes when we see the church as a fellowship if saints instead of a fellowship of sinners. Are we saints? Absolutely! We are declared holy by God Himself – in spite of our sinfulness, because that sin has been dealt with by Jesus. But are we not also a fellowship of sinners – first and foremost? Isn’t it our acknowledgment of our sinfulness that drew us to Christ and the fellowship of the church to start with?
We are, if my own life is any judge, far more like sinners than saints. Chances are, that until we come to honestly admit that openly and loudly, we’ll continue to act like good little Christians should act and never let on that we’re still desperately full of sin and sinful tendencies. And there are no exceptions to that rule. The most righteous among us is still a great sinner and all the pretending in the world won’t change that fact. As long as we deny that fact, we’re denying our humanity – and like any illness, as long as we deny it exists – it can’t be treated and dealt with. We have been set free from the consequences of sin as His children…though sin still tempts and often leads us down the wrong path.
James 5:16 – Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.
Copyright 2005 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
TODAY’S PRAYER: Give us the courage, Father, to take you at your word and to confess not only to you, but others, our sinfulness and brokenness. And then, by your grace and mercy, and the prayers of other sinners like ourselves, may we find your healing that our broken souls so desperately need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.