3.13.2013

Confession as Worship

http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/webfm_send/905Confession, for many people, is self-focused: I have messed up, I feel dirty as a result, and confession is what I do to get cleansed.  For the God-fearing, I encourage you to consider confession as a form of worship, as well, which is less about taking care of ourselves and more about exalting something greater than us.

We live in an era in which it is celebrated for us to do whatever feels right to us.  Individualism reigns, and to suggest anything other than that we each decide what is best for ourselves is to be labeled nosy, arrogant, and primitive.

But (at the risk of being labeled nosy, arrogant, and primitive) the fact the matter is there is a God, He is the Absolute Judge, and He is the Original Creator of our bodies and minds and souls.  So when we confess, we are going against the grain of this generation, and saying instead: "You made us.  You set the standard.  You judge us.  And we have fallen short.  Have mercy on us."

Confession, in other words, isn't a "get out of jail free" card to play to get ourselves out of a jam.  It is a humbling posture of getting outside of our desire to be our own god, and submitting ourselves before God.  It isn't a transaction that results in our being clean where we were once dirty; it is an act of worship that exalts God as Creator and Judge and Authority and Mercy-Giver.

The majority view in most of the circles I run in is that there really is no such thing as "sin," in terms of our behaviors having consequences apart from whether or not we hurt ourselves or others.  From this viewpoint, confession is either wholly unnecessary ("why burden yourself with so much guilt") or purely transactional ("if you must feel guilty, do this and this and then you'll be made whole again"). 

But if you believe in a God and in His right to have a standard and to measure those He has created against that standard, then confession is both necessary for us to do and honoring to Him when we do it.  Would that we who believe in such a God approach confession in a manner that is consistent with that belief.
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