For those of you who think worship on Sundays is most meaningful inside a church and have yet to experience it elsewhere, I say to you, “Don’t knock it until you try it.” Because of the out-of-town trips and the church homelessness I had in Knoxville, I started using the Internet to worship. I now watch, read, and listen to sermons from my home church (Roswell Presbyterian Church in Roswell, GA) as well as a church I have not been to (North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA) to worship. I have been attentively listening to the latest sermon series of Andy Stanley’s at North Point which is titled, “The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating.” That title alone gets your attention, huh? This past Sunday’s message weighed heavy on my heart. I do not want to get into personal details and I also hope you do not let your minds run wild. What I do want to talk about is confession.
Confession is a big deal. Let’s face it. It can be extremely difficult to confess that you are secretly a huge Justin Bieber fan to your group of hipster friends. (This is strictly a hypothetical example. I do not have Bieber Fever.) Or that you prefer Pepsi over Coke to your Southern friends. (This is, however, a true personal statement.) It is one thing to confess something to someone else, but it is another thing to confess something to yourself. I have learned that confession is a three-part deal. First comes recognition. Recognize there is something to confess. Then comes the doing. Verbally state what needs to be confessed. And lastly comes recognition, again. Recognize what that confession meant and get a grip with post-confession feelings. Sometimes stage three does not happen immediately. Sometimes it does. But personally I feel like my confessions used to stop after stage two. Then later down the road, something would happen due to the lack of acceptance and realization of the feelings and emotions I had after the initial confession.
In his letter to churches in Galatia, the apostle Paul writes about reaping what we sow. The obvious message in this passage (Galatians 6) is a personal account and reflection on his previous days as Saul of Tarsus, a Christian persecutor. But the underlying message is taking responsibility for one’s actions – tweaking those actions – in order to glorify God in doing all things. And beyond that, recognizing and confessing ones’ sins. Confessing to God and myself are deeper than simply giving a detailed and specific account. It can be emotionally draining and confusing. (And actually physically draining, as in those sorts of situations I run and run and run, Forrest Gump style.) But being as thoughtful and prayerful as possible when confessing my sins is invaluable and priceless for the continuation of my faith journey and relationship with God.