I confess I’m not very good at confessing.
Confession was not a big part of my faith tradition so I never learned the proper words to use or the correct posture to strike or the acceptable attitude to display. This section of my prayer notebook is thin. I have much to learn.
When it comes to confession, I tend to swing between two extremes:
#1) I think about things I’m really ashamed of and recoil at the thought of rehashing them. Let bygones be bygones. Sweep them under the rug and move on. The past can’t be changed, so don’t look back.
Lord, have mercy.
#2) I can’t think of anything to confess. I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs and I don’t sleep around. I go to church, I read my Bible and I’m a really good girl. There’s no sense in drudging up something that isn’t there.
Lord, have mercy.
I know that both extremes of that swinging pendulum are filled with error. Somewhere between beating myself up and puffing myself up, there is a place where God is patiently waiting for honest truth.
So I went looking for help. I needed words I didn’t have. If confession is a cleansing of the soul, then I wanted to learn the language, understand the posture and adjust my attitude.
King David got me started with the scariest prayer I ever prayed:
“Search me, O God,
and know my heart;
test my thoughts.
Point out anything
You find in me
that makes You sad.”
It’s not up to me to delve into the deep, dark places of my soul to drum up some impressive sins. That’s God’s job. He does a thorough search and makes me aware of what’s lurking there. Once it’s pointed out, it’s my job to look it square in the face, agree with God that I was out of line, and say “I’m sorry”. And mean it.
Many others have written heart-felt confessions
that provide words I wouldn’t have come up with on my own.
It’s okay to steal those prayers —
no confession needed.