Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Lost Art of the Confessional

Before I begin, allow me to remind you that I'm Lutheran, and up until a few years ago, I really didn't have much to do with any church. Therefore, this post will not apply to everyone or make sense to everyone.

That said...

I recall visiting with a pastor a couple years ago regarding confession - whether or not it's something that we should do privately with a pastor or someone. And he explained how confession is important - both directly to God through prayer, and through the confession and forgiveness portion of service - but that anything more than that wasn't necessary (although there is nothing wrong with it, either). So, my only experience with private confession was generally through email to him - not in any professional confession and forgiveness format.

A couple weeks ago, particularly weighted down by a lot of stress, I went to speak to my pastor, and he asked if I'd want to do a private confession and forgiveness with him. Now, first, I didn't even know this existed (I don't generally read through the entire worship book/hymnal). And second, you want me to what? I agreed... but wow did I learn something. Confessing your sins to a pastor (or anyone for that matter) takes a whole lot of trust.

Let me interrupt my own babbling for a moment to explain a few things...

1) pastors/priests are not to divulge anything said to them in the confessional to anyone else; so there should be an inherent trust built in. However, I have trust issues with people, including (and perhaps especially) pastors.

2) I am not saying I distrust this particular pastor. If that were the case, I wouldn't have even been there speaking to him. But again, I have trust issues.

This entire experience pushed my trust to limits I was not used to. And it wasn't even anything major (i.e. no, I did not confess to killing anyone, or cheating, or anything like that). But regardless, it pushed my trust limits and opened up a whole new level of discomfort. And, it also opened up a whole new level of comfort and peace.

Will I do this again? Yes. And for those who've never had the experience of an individual confession and forgiveness - when you're feeling weighted down by your sin; when speaking directly to God through prayer doesn't seem to alleviate that weight; when you just really need to dump all that garbage off yourself; when you desperately need to hear that God does indeed forgive you - I recommend going to your pastor and requesting this.

God bless!

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