We have all spent time washing and waxing our car only to have it rain later that same day. No sooner do we get it clean and shiny, when inevitably we hit a big puddle in the road. A clean car doesn’t stay clean long. The same can be true with our soul. When was the last time you went to a soul wash?
How do we clean our soul? We do so by confessing our sins. The Bible is clear on the importance of confessing sin. We confess for two reasons. We confess to be forgiven and we confess to receive the grace to avoid future sins. James 5:16 states, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” In Proverbs 28:13 it is written, “Those who conceal their sins do not prosper, but those who confess and forsake them obtain mercy.”
In this message I hope to avoid the theological debate about the Catholic practice of confessing sins to a priest. Suffice it to say that The Catholic Church believes they are on solid Biblical foundation with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the need to confess to a priest. Other Christian denominations believe differently. My goal here is to find a common ground.
Each week I try to find areas of Christian unity. Hopefully, we can all agree that confession is an essential part of our Christian faith. We must admit our sins. I am sure we can also agree that it is difficult, embarrassing and sometimes painful to confess our faults and shortcomings to another person. What matters is this, when we confess to someone, be that person a priest, a minister, a psychologist or just another Christian believer, doing so helps our soul feel fresh, clean, forgiven and restored.
The ability to confess our flaws and brokenness to another human being requires an honest humility. It is never easy, but it is extremely beneficial. I am a big believer in the healing effects of confession. As a Catholic, I try to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) on a regular basis, usually monthly. I truly feel reunited with Christ, and I really feel the weight of my sins lifted off my shoulders. For me, confession is the spiritual version of a car wash. But, as with our cars, as soon as our soul is clean, we often manage to get it dirty again.
Many people have shared with me that they experience an extra grace immediately after confessing their sins, that helps them to keep their soul clean. They have a renewed conviction to avoid sin. They tell me that if it has been awhile since they confessed their sins, they find it is easier to just keep sinning. Have you found this to be true in your life?
No matter who we confess to, it is Jesus who forgives our sins. Even knowing this, we still struggle to fully accept His forgiveness and we often struggle to forgive ourselves. I believe this is why the Bible encourages us to confess our sins to someone else. Mustering the courage to admit our faults to someone else helps us to experience the love and mercy of Jesus Christ in a more fulfilling way. This helps us to be kinder towards ourselves as well.
If it has been longer than a few months since you have confessed your sins to someone, I strongly encourage you to prayerfully consider doing so. Jesus loves a contrite heart. He will welcome you back and shower you with His grace. If you are a Catholic, seek out the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If you are a non-Catholic Christian go to your minister or seek out another Christian or if the nature of your brokenness requires professional counseling, seek out a Christian psychologist. It would be a shame if we had to admit we spend more time washing our car than cleaning our soul. Act today, schedule time on your calendar for a soul wash.
Heavenly Father please give me the courage to confess my sins on a regular basis. Help me to keep my soul clean. Keep me close to your Son’s mercy. Amen!
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