Monday, April 30, 2012

The Confessional

Trey Smith

One of the recurrent themes in the New Testament (Christian bible) is the importance of the confession of sins. What I find interesting is that most Christians (save for Catholics) don't seem really to understand what such action entails. For a lot of them, it's nothing more than a casual throwaway line; it's like, if you say you're ready to confess your sins, that's all there is to it and you're in "the club."

Back when I was a churchgoer, I often was dumbfounded when parishioners would go to the front of the church to declare their confession of sin. The minister would mumble a bunch of "holy" words and then bless them. They then would return to their seats feeling like a new and cleansed person.

But here's the thing. To confess means to "spill the beans." It means to say what a person has done wrong, including all the gory details. When a person confesses to murder, they must stand up in court and recount the details of their crime. They have to say something like, "I killed this person and here's how I did it."

For you Christians out there, how often has someone gone to the front of your church and provided a laundry list of their misdeeds? How often have you heard, "God forgive me, but I've been screwing my neighbor's wife for the past three years and I recently stole $250 from work"?

I'm not saying this never happens, but it's rare.

I realize that most people will say that the details are between each of us and the imaginary bloke in the sky. But if a person can't bring themselves to say in church amongst people who care about them what they done wrong, what are the chances they actually say them between their own ears?

Me thinks that Christians love the term "confession of sin" because, by utilizing it, they can avoid directly confronting all the "bad things" they supposedly have done. That phrase is like a magic incantation that removes the stain without a person having to do the real work to scrub it away.

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