I was talking with someone awhile back, and one of the things that he brought up was how we in the Church seem to treat confession like it’s an outdated, old-fashioned idea that has no place in the worship of the modern congregation. While it’s true that we intellectually acknowledge the need for confession in our personal lives, public confession—or worse, corporate confession—just ought not to be done. Maybe we’re afraid that, if we demonstrate weakness, we’ll somehow invite ravenous atheists to tear apart an all-too-fragile faith. Perhaps we believe that, if we talk about our sins, the world will write us off as hypocrites. Or, maybe we’re so embarrassed about something in our past that we just don’t want to talk about it.
Those may be normal human concerns, but they really don’t have any place in the Church. God is bigger than our enemies, so if we’re afraid for our faith, it’s time for us to hunker down and trust that God has got this under control. Hiding our sins and pretending that everything is just peachy when it’s not is the very definition of hypocrisy. Dysfunctional churches are born from the public facade of denial. Such denial leads to self-deceit and ignorance, which, in turn, pits genuine truth-seekers against a perplexed establishment that can’t understand why we don’t just leave well-enough alone.
And embarrassed? The apostle Paul had some things to be mighty embarrassed about, even referring to himself as “the least of the apostles.” However, this same evangelist went on to say that his only boast was in Christ Jesus, and that the Lord himself had told him, “My strength is perfected in weakness.” Are we to deny Jesus the opportunity to truly, powerfully, use our congregations because we’re too embarrassed to show weakness and confess our sins?
That’s something to think about.