Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Confessing "Safe Sins"

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. ~ James 5: 16

The following is from Prodigal Jon over at "Stuff Christians Like"

Have you ever been in a small group with people that confess safe sins? Someone will say, “I need to be honest with everyone tonight. I need to have full disclosure and submit myself in honesty. Like ODB from the Wu-Tang Clan, I need to give it to you raw!” So you brace yourself for this crazy moment of authenticity and the person takes a deep breath and says … “I haven’t been reading my Bible enough.”

Ugh, you, dirty, dirty sinner. I’m not even sure I can be in a small group with you any more. Not reading your Bible enough, that is disgusting. And then once he’s gone someone else will catch the safe sin bug too and will say, “I need to be real too. I haven’t been praying enough.”

Two of you in the same room? Wow, freak shows! I can barely stand it.

But what happens when people start confessing safe sins is that everyone else in the room starts concealing their real junk. I mean if I was surrounded by confessions like that in the eighth grade I would have instantly known I couldn’t follow the “not reading my Bible enough” guy with my own story:

“Soooo, this weekend when it was snowing I told my parents I was going to the dump to sled but instead I was really just digging through a 200 foot mountain of warm trash looking for pornography.” And the same principle would have applied to me in my late 20s. I wouldn’t have been honest sharing my struggles with Internet porn if everyone else confessed their “safe enough for small group” sins.

And that sucks. It sucks that as broken as we all are, as desperate as we all are for a Savior, we feel compelled to clean ourselves up when we get around each other.

But this blog has taught me something unbelievable. If I stop writing tomorrow, this will be the lesson I cling to the most.

When you go first, you give everyone in your church or your community or your small group or your blog, the gift of going second.

It’s so much harder to be first. No one knows what’s off limits yet and you’re setting the boundaries with your words. You’re throwing yourself on the honesty grenade and taking whatever fall out that comes with it. Going second is so much easier. And the ease only grows exponentially as people continue to share. But it has to be started somewhere. Someone has to go first and I think it has to be us.

We’re called to give the gift of second to the people in our lives. To live the truth, to share the truth, to be the truth.Let’s give the gift of going second. ~ Prodigal Jon

Great advice for all of us to remember in our small groups, life groups, bible studies and especially in our marriages. Opening ourselves up completely is not easy. No one particularly likes to be vulnerable, exposing our flaws and weaknesses. Being open, honest and genuine, even when it reveals our sinfulness is exactly what God desires from us as this shows the work of the Holy Spirit on our lives to humble our hearts and submit to Him. Doing so in marriage and close relationships w/other Brothers and Sisters in Christ draws us not only closer to one another but also, strengthens the Body (Church).

None of us should think that we have the market cornered on sin or that we've done something no one else has. Each and every one of us is wretched and sinful to the core. Confession is not only good for the soul, it's good for the person who confesses AFTER you :)

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. ~ 1 John 1: 8-10



Anna said...

I really enjoyed this blog. I know there is so much suffering going on, yet everyone seems to be doing "good" all the time. How is that the case? Sometimes people just aren't comfortable exposing themselves, but the other possibility is people aren't seeing their actions as sinful. We must first admit that what we have going on is causing us strife. If we can't even admit reality, then how will people work on their issues, learn and grow? We also have to be ready to be open to what advice people might offer. We have to know that those who listen and then offer advice or suggestions are hopefully doing it with love and our best interest in mind. Keep the blogs coming!