Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Power of Confession

Regarding the recent spate of school shootings, I have many thoughts and feelings. And some very specific political suggestions. But this most recent incident, that in the Amish schoolhouse, got me thinking more than the others, and not because the victims were Amish.

Now, there are folks who'll say, "If only we had better gun control this wouldn't have happened." Nonsense--these were unarmed pacifists and this was pre-meditated. He could have killed these kids with anything. Or, "If only our mental health system were better-funded and more proactive to adddress problems before they start..." Such things only help if individuals willingly seek them out. Even court-ordered treatment is often ineffective, because the individual is not doing it out of a desire for help. I think what this really boils down to is something that will never get coverage in the news.

The power of confession.

Now, this man did confess in a suicide note, but that doesn't count. He'd committed this sin (molesting children) twenty years ago and had allowed that sin to fester. He apparently had never confessed that to anyone, and the guilt and shame and obsession only grew as the years went on. The secret apparently grew to the point where he could no longer control his lust and hated himself and the objects of his lust so much that he killed both.

We are told in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Now, this squares us with God eternally, but we still have to live with ourselves down here. God knew this and knew what a prison Satan could make out of our "dirty little secrets." So in James 5:16, we're told to "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." Confessing our sins to others doesn't wash or sin away; it brings healing and freedom.

I know in my own life I have carried secrets that I knew God had forgiven but that I could not bring to the light of day with anyone else. I let Satan use those secrets as bludgeons to beat me and as bricks to wall me in. I was astonished at the outpouring of grace I finally received when I confessed those things to trusted brothers and sisters in Christ. Satan can only use secrets against you when you keep them secret.

What do you need to confess today? To God, yes, but also to another. Don't let your secrets keep you a slave.


Anonymous Maureen said...

This is such a great point and one that came to my mind as well, as I read the horrible details of this story.

Before this information had come out, I'd had an unrelated conversation with a family member. The idea came up that it's not much use to talk about things especially if it's something in the past or something we can't do anything about. That's how things are 'dealt' with in our family. I am hoping to get on the subject again and maybe this sad story can be used as illustration.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

This entry is almost a replay of a conversation I had with someone shortly after the shooting took place. I could not agree more, Nate. Our generation is like a corked and shaken bottle of coke that is never vented. Great entry!

8:04 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Talk about perfect timing...especiall y in my life!

The realization for me in my life is to pretty much but honest with myself! I love the fact that that 'Power' is taken away from satan when I own up to my confession!

5:50 PM  

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