Confession as an Act of Worship?
"Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." James 5:16 (The Message)
I think that we would all agree that confession is an important part of growth in holiness (i.e. living right before God and others) and our lifestyle of worship. God promises us in Scripture that if we confess our sins, He will be faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). I believe this with all my heart. But I think we can and should take this a step further, especially if we are going to reach the level of holiness that God desires for us.
I believe in order for us to reach the level of holiness God wants for us, we need to be willing to confess our sins to one another.
Now, I don't think we just go off spilling our guts to anyone and everyone! Obviously this would be to people we can trust. At least most of the time, anyway. There will be times, however, where public confession is necessary and appropriate as well. We should be willing to not only confess our sins to God, but to our trusted brothers and sisters in the faith as well.
This takes our holiness from personal to communal.
Not too long ago, I saw this take place first hand in one of our worship gatherings. There is a person in our church who needed to get something off his chest. He needed to confess something to the pastor and to the congregation. At the end of the service, he asked the pastor if he could address him and the congregation publicly and our pastor obliged.
He first confessed to the pastor that he had some thoughts borne out of frustration about him, and then he confessed to the congregation the same. It was nothing malicious or anything like that, but he knew that these particular thoughts of frustration were not of God, and he needed to ask for forgiveness from the pastor and from the congregation.
This individual is passionate about our faith community and our ministry, and is well known in the church, so we knew that deep down, his heart was in the right place. The pastor offered forgiveness, thanked him for his honesty, and we prayed.
Several people, my wife and I included, approached him after the service to personally support him and thank him. I was moved by his commitment to holiness, and to this often times difficult aspect of our journey with Christ.
In his confessing to the pastor and to the congregation, and in our support and prayer for him, I experienced one of the most beautiful displays of communal holiness I have ever experienced.
Worship goes far beyond singing and playing some songs. It is about the kind of life in Christ we are living, and for me, this is a big part of what holiness (living right before God) is about. We need to make it a common practice to confess our sins to God, reaffirm our need for Him, confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another so that we can live whole and healed.
Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group."Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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