Goodness in Confession by Wesley Kouba

Confession often gets a bad rap in the church. These negative connotations occur for a variety of reasons. For starters, I’ve never met someone who loves the process of confession. None of us like to admit that we’re wrong. Just try raising kids and being a parent. Secondly, the uncomfortable nature of confession is like the first time as a kid when you’ve tried to ride a bike or go out on a first date - super awkward. Thirdly, religious folks have made confession into a duty-oriented, guilt-ridden, control-centered obligation rather than a life-giving, God-honoring, blessing-filled invitation. We’ve made it into an “I have to” rather than an “I get to.”
But confession is actually a rich gift from God’s gracious hand to provide us a way towards life, beauty, fullness & flourishing in a broken, sin-filled world. Psalm 51 describes the gut-wrenching realization of King David after the prophet of God confronted him on his egregious and devastating crimes and sins. The process towards confession was messy, painful and seemingly impossible to overcome. Yet it is through this process where David was awakened to the gravity and depth of his sin. It fostered an environment where the posture of true repentance could take place in his heart and life.

Confession includes acknowledgement, admittance and ownership of our sin, wrongdoing and rebellion & accepting God’s mercy and grace. It’s honesty and transparency before the Lord and others. It requires a deep level of self-awareness and acknowledgment of one’s inner life. It demands discernment and wisdom about how our lives, postures and attitudes are projected upon those around us. Confession is the providential space and divine process that invites us into this hard but essentially necessary dimension.

You see, God by His Holy Spirit woos us with His might and mercy and never with His anger or judgment. Negatively, the guilt we feel leads to condemnation and shame, which are never from the Lord. Positively, our guilty experience leads us to conviction and confessional sorrow. Conviction drives us to confessional sorrow, and confessional sorrow guides us to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10).
My pastoral encouragement to you this week is 1) Start asking the Holy Spirit to help you begin to normalize confession in your life. 2) Seek to understand confession for what it truly is - a life-infusing gift from the Lord. 3) Practice it daily and often. Over time watch what God might do with the constant practice of confessional sorrow in your life as it propels you into repentance, joy and a flourishing life!

Much love,