Confession. A word that conjures up all sorts of emotional quandary’s within the body of Christ. On one side we know it is the “right thing to do.” But on the other, our pounding heart tells us to “keep it to yourself.” Much fear is associated with this 3 syllable word.
My text is “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:21
This text is right after a judgement is pronounced on all those not only practicing evil, but not willing to come into the light to expose the evil deed(s). Truth means coming into the light. Coming into the light reveals a work of God in the individual. Confession is a revealing of what was done in secret. This, Confession, is a good thing, a God working, Spirit moving event in the life off all who have been made alive in Messiah! I do not need to recount the wonderful testimonies out there, or my own, where the burden of sin, it’s weight, has been thrown off (Heb 12:1-2), by the powerful good news of Jesus, the Messiah.
So why have I thought about confession in a negative way, instead of such a positive? Haven’t you every wondered about this? Confession is work of God, yet we stuggle with asking God to, “search our hearts and see if there be any wicked way in me,” out of fear that God might just take us up on the offer and reveal something so disgusting in His sight that confession becomes the remedy. And oh, what a remedy Confession is! We get nervous to tell God about our sin, and even more nervous to come before a Church goer. Why?
I’m afraid I have seen a pattern over my 21 years now of walking with Jesus. Let me tell you a story, a true story that I feel is not the marginal, but the norm. I was at a Pastors conference one year and during a Q & A time with a panel of 10 pastors or so, old and young servants of the Lord, a question was asked about dealing with a staff member or clergy that was in sexual immorality. AH, there it is! The sin of sexual immorality, everyone duck, because the rock throwing is a comin! That’s what we think right. Israel was sexual immoral, Abraham was, Solomon of course was, Judah, Rahab, Samuel, plus many, many more. And God sure made their lives a wreak!
Getting back to the panel of Pastors now. The answer to the quesiton was a immediate stepping out of the position that they were in and a demotion, more than likely without the ability to get back to where they have fallen from. Seemed like a too the point answer, from strong men who have never struggled with the sexual temptations that the forefathers of the faith have stumbled upon. I seriouslly doubt that. With so many Pastors on the internet today, it’s hard to imagine a Pastor not being tempted at some point with the false pleasure of internet porn. Especially if they do not have a filter system on there computer. I mean there open to the 420 million porn pages out there just like the rest of the world, right? Right! The statistics bear it out, many, many Pastor’s do have a temptation to pornography as they use the same medium as Bible teachers and porn producers in pushing their products; THE INTERNET.
But how this reaction by the Pastors effects an audience can be radical. Just think of hearing the answer to this question! Put yourself in the shoes of someone who makes such a confession to a Pastor of sexual immorality. Your come into the office, sit down, look at the Pastor and blurb it out, heart pounding, blood racing… God says that this confession is a work of HIM in you. This is His work in you! How great is that, right? Then the Pastor tells you that your sins are forgiven but your fired? Nice.
Now to give the Pastors some leaway, they could have thought about a situation where they come into the office area and find someone viewing pornography on the church computers. No cofession there. Different situaiton entirely. But if someone confession to you, then we have to take a look at the passage of scripture above and dicern what it is that is moving this man or women to the point of confessing their sins. They obviously know it is sin, and have been convicted of it. The work of the Spirit in them has brought them to a place of coming and confessing to there leaders. What a beautiful thing this is.
When I was listening to the Pastors at the conference I could just imagine what the 1000 leaders were saying in there minds while listening…,”I’m never going to tell anyone.” They way the question was answered made you think that confession was not a God glorifying, benefit to the believer, move of the Holy Spirit in them. Instead the answer given pushed down the idea of the pleasure in Confession, and placed it in the abyss of the person’s brain, never to be brought up again.
I have to understand as a minister that when the Lord is moving his child to Confession that this is a good thing, a great thing, a time to rejoice, for it is the Lord that moves in Him as the great deliverer of the soul. (Psalm 50:15) I am not to fire a person who confesses to me that he eats to much or is jealous of others am I? The Lord is honored when we bring to him and others our struggles, for this shows our great need and our weakness. Though the church longs to be strong, God’s graces in our life our to reveal our weakness as to show His might and power working in us, so we cannot boast, and He is seen as the deliverer of our souls. We win the war by being weak and vulnerable, not strong.
I had another encounter recently with a young man, who was serving at a church on their worship team. As a up and coming leader in the ministry he observed a Pastor removing another young man from the leadership team after the young man confessed his sin of viewing porn. Sad, really sad. The lesson the young lad learned from observing this action/reaction from the Pastor was that if you confess to him anything, your fired. Your time of serving the Lord is done. You can’t help lead in music anymore because being in leadership means that we don’t sin or confess our sins, especially viewing a naked person. This I believe is wrong, very wrong. Leadership is moving in grace in ALL area’s of our life before the congregation. I lead in repentance, cutting off sin and yes, Confessing sin. Oh, it might take you down a peg or two in your mind, (and others) but then again….It’s not about you or I, is it?
Psalm 115:1 “Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us but to your name be the Glory.”