Belief · Faith · Grace · Hope

The Liberating Power of Confession


It was the intersection of my guilt and the Lord’s prompting. My breathing became shallow and my heart thumped wildly. With everything in me, I didn’t like where this was leading. It’s a moment I won’t soon forget.

Jesus was directing me to confess my failure—to Him…and to someone I wronged.

Confession. There’s something we avoid like the plague. Something that carries minimal persuasion in a “me” hungry, I’m ok-you’re ok-world.

Why?

Confession requires vulnerability, and so many of us are imprisoned by the fear of laying our hearts bare. We’ve learned to “suck it up” and move on. It’s unspoken (and understood) that to admit failure is to acknowledge weakness.

But why have we bought into this lie?

For me–the answer is simple, fear.

What will the one that receives the vulnerability of my confession do with it? Will they destroy me? Will they use my very words to annihilate me before others? Consequently, in an attempt to circumvent vulnerability, another brick is laid in the wall around my heart, and the words only echo inside the cavern of my soul.

I won’t lie, in that moment of prompting, I did not want to confess my wrong. The person that I hurt didn’t even know what I had done. Enter my rationale: why would I incriminate myself when they have no idea? When conviction rises up in your spirit, and surely you know what I’m talking about, you have to do something about the persistent nagging.

The thought of confession scared me…embarrassed me…humbled me. With a strength not my own, I confessed…I stepped into that vulnerable place-with my heart beating in an unrecognizable rhythm-and the words escaped my mouth.

I was wrong. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.

He did.

My decision to be vulnerable, through confession, was liberating.

There’s a question in the gospel of Matthew that has been ruminating within me recently. It reminds me of choosing vulnerability and confessing. The interaction wasn’t about a wrong, it was a question posed from a teacher to his disciples. It’s found in Matthew 16:15.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

This question, asked by Jesus, awaited an answer–a confession, or declaration of sorts. It was an invitation to be vulnerable.

Can you imagine the moment?

Pin-drop quiet.

Eyes moving around the circle.

Hearts beating rapidly.

Butterflies.

Who would be the first to respond?

Peter pipes up and says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

He had, after all, previously witnessed Jesus feeding large crowds with marginal resources, walking on water, and now he takes the stage to share his conclusion of who he believed Jesus to be.

Immediately following this confession, Jesus turns to Peter and says:

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church…” (Matthew 16:17-18)

As I type those words, I have such a lump in my throat. Can you imagine how vulnerable that moment must have been? Don’t let the beauty of it get lost on you. Once Peter knew, believed and confessed who Jesus was, Jesus called out his identity. He was liberated.

Confession and vulnerability have the power to unlock prisons we didn’t even know existed.

We can’t truly know who we are until we know who He is.

We find our identity when we discover (and believe) who He is (and we do this through the study of scripture).

Just one chapter later, Peter is taken with Jesus up to the high mountain where he witnesses the transfiguration. What an unexpected, unforgettable experience.

He confessed.

His identity was revealed.

He experienced.

I wonder what He’s stirring in you to confess.

Belief?

A confession of a past wrong or hurt?

I wonder what you’ve come to know about yourself based on what you know about Jesus.

I wonder how withholding a confession may have skewed your understanding of your own identity.

I wonder what things you’ve seen and experienced post confession…what things you have yet to see and experience because you are withholding a confession.

We should take Jon Acuff’s advice and “punch fear in the face.”

Don’t let fear of vulnerability keep you from making the first move.

May today be the day you discover your identity as you confess His.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

2 thoughts on “The Liberating Power of Confession

  1. So so powerful, my friend. I confessed something on facebook (not always the safe place to make public confessions) the other day. I almost deleted it in the wee hours of the morning because the liar started saying “What were you thinking posting THAT?” but I felt the Lord wanted me to share..my heart wouldn’t stop pounding until I shared. I have gotten much response from that confession and am working on a blog post to expand on what I confessed. I have experienced so much liberation through confession. I confess something every week in my recovery program and Jesus is right there with me in the struggle. I have seen so much beauty in the grace offered to me when I take off my masks.

    Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

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