Which of course leads me to ask: What is confession?
|If Google image search is any indication, praying is something that happens outside, on a hill, under a beautiful sky. Image source.|
I imagine confession to be about naming a specific sin- maybe something that I did just once or maybe something that's become a habit. And by telling God that I'm "confessing", there's also the implicit assumption that I won't do it again. A "confession" is me being honest about my sin and my intention to not do it again.
Not do it again? But what if I don't even know how?
See I was left a bit befuddled while pondering the question, "What do you need to confess to God?" There aren't any terribly huge obvious sins I'm aware of, but there are so many ways I wish I was a better person.
I wish I did more to help my parents, since I'm currently living with them. Like making dinner, cleaning the litter box, vacuuming, that kind of stuff.
And I wish I prayed more. And I wish I understood God more- there are so many things I feel uncertain about. Questions about prayer, God, God's will, etc...
So... on one hand, I know I have a lot of room for improvement. But on the other hand, this isn't the kind of stuff that works in a "confession." I thought "confession" meant "God, I'm sorry for ________. I won't do it again."
In other words, confession is about me recognizing my sins and weakness, and fixing them on my own. But what if I don't even know how? And what if I've been a Christian long enough to know that vows to "never do it again" aren't the same thing as ACTUALLY not doing it again?
What if I know myself well enough to know I often lack the motivation to clean the house more and plan dinner, and praying some "confession" isn't going to change that? What if I'm confessing that I'm confused about how to follow God, and I don't know how to become un-confused?
I thought "confession" was about naming a sin and putting it behind me, but that can only happen if I believe I have the ability, on my own, to put it behind me.
Yeah so... that's not gonna work.
And I'm not going to make empty promises to God.
I can't confess a "sin." (And I wouldn't exactly say this stuff is "sin" anyway- more like things I know I should be doing better.) But maybe instead I can confess a need for God. Because I don't know how to become a better person on my own, but that's what Christianity is all about, right? We need God. God doesn't leave us to deal with problems by ourselves- no, he is with us and helps us.
But the most important thing...
The most important thing is this: God's presence with me and God's work in my life are not dependent on me being able to stick to good habits and have a correct understanding of God. No. He is always with me. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Or maybe I can say it this way: "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." And it's not about what I do. And it's not about me having the right answers. God is my God, even when I don't know what that means.
So, readers: How do you define "confession"?