Dealing with Confession

As an RD, mentor, and ministry leader, people confess to me on a regular basis.  They aren’t seeking forgiveness or approval from me but rather desire to experience accountability, support, and freedom. It is a privilege and I don’t take that lightly. When people tell you the darkest parts of their lives, you have to handle it with grace and care. Unfortunately, I have not always done well with that but here are some things I’ve learned as I’ve dealt with confession:

  • Listen: Shut up and listen. Don’t think about the 5 most effective Bible verses that combat that particular sin. Just focus on the individual and stay tuned in.
  • Ask questions: Don’t assume anything. Questions let them know you’re listening.
  • Push them towards Jesus: This seems like a no brainer. But if a person has not confessed to God before coming to me, I will stop the conversation and make them pray on the spot. He is the forgiver of sins, not me.
  • Speak with grace: The conversation should be Gospel centered not sin centered. Again, push them towards Jesus.
  • Speak the truth: Don’t sugar coat the Gospel. Share God’s anger toward sins but also His scandalous grace.

How do you cultivate a community of confession? What does that balance of grace and truth look like for you?

2 thoughts on “Dealing with Confession

  1. Good stuff Bri! Yeah, it is easy to call people to actually engage in the act of confessing, but there is a lot of work to do in learning how to receive a confession. I know many struggle with the idea of a Catholic priest, but I don’t think any of them, or very few, see themselves as the people actually forgiving people their sins. Rather, it is someone who in the name of Jesus calls to mind that they are forgiven, and so to verbally say, “By the blood of Christ you are forgiven” you call them to Christ, you remind them what God says about them is true, and you release them from the shame/guilt/pride tied to their actions. You are not forgiving them, but you are saying based upon what God says about sin and confession that God forgives them. I think there is something incredibly freeing about that, and that it calls people to holiness and continued confession. However, then, and after then does the need for straight talk need to take place about where you lay out the way forward, which you stated quite clearly above! Good stuff!

  2. I so appreciate your spirit not only in written word but in your life. You have hit the nail on the head. Too often we become self righteous and prideful and think we would never do anything like we haev just heard. Its all about Christ and his blood he shed for us. To live in this world is to live in a struggle with sin. None of us will escape. Thankful that you have those that trust you enough to share with you their deepest joys and failures.

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