It was time to come clean. The weight of my secrets had become unbearable. I had thought long and hard about the consequences of coming clean but through some prayer and guidance I knew that they were far less painful than the consequences of continuing my current lifestyle. I has come to believe that secrets were poisonous and that I was dying inside.
I was afraid. I had two men who had trusted their students to my care and leadership. I had parents and friends who I had done life with for the last two years as their pastor. I had been a hypocrite…teaching on sexual purity without living it. I was about to let them all down. Disappointing people is a fear of mine. But I had to realize that living the way I was living was still a disappointment, they just didn’t know it yet. If they were proud of me it was because they were proud of a man that I wasn’t, and that was doing me no good.
There comes a point where the pain of consequences begins to overcome the fleeting pleasure of sin and that’s when you know you’re ready for change. You look around you at the wake of destruction and you realize that it’s your own selfishness that created this mess. It’s not a happy place, but it’s a healthy one. So I walked in the office and laid it all out there and it set me free.
A lot of people hide behind the idea that if you confess your sin to God that it's enough. But just think about the mechanics of confession…Does God need you to confess? Is he up there wondering what we’re up to? Of course He’s not. It’s likened to the fact that the Old Testament believers sacrificed animals as a means of worshiping the God who as Psalms 50:10 says “owns the cattle on 1000 hills.” It’s not as if God is hungry and looking for a good cut of meat. So maybe confession is more for us than it is for God. Maybe it’s not about what is “enough” for God but rather what is “abundant” for us (John 10:10).
Also, have you ever thought about the fact that sacrifices were made at the temple rather than in the privacy of ones own home? There was something very important about presenting your lamb to the priest in front of other believers. It’s as if they all traveled together thinking about the sin in their life that would be covered by the lamb they were leading. They lined up together, shed blood together, and the experienced grace together. There was no pretending that you didn’t need to sacrifice that week, because the community existed for people to come and receive forgiveness, which was why they had gathered. I think this is why James 5:16 tells us to not just confess to God, but to others. There is a healing found in the community of the broken unlike anywhere else on earth.
I was fortunate that day to receive that kind of gracious love from my pastors, coworkers, and friends. I found healing in the way they loved me, were proud of me, and supported me in getting the help I so desperately needed.
So as always, how about you? Are you missing out on God’s best for you because you’d rather have your pride? Are you practicing regular communal confession as a means of regularly experiencing the grace of God through his people? Are you still in hiding? Are you missing out on abundant life because you’re stuck on the wonder of “what is enough for God?” Confession is hard, I know, but I hope you find the courage.