I recently came across a statement by Nate Larkin in I am Second that was like a breath of fresh air. One question that has troubled me is this. How do I move beyond merely being forgiven by God and actually begin to experience healing and growth in areas that afflict me? Nate's statement has been very helpful :
I don’t think I really believed the message of Jesus. I thought it was up to me to be good. I didn’t believe that God would forgive me. I begged God to forgive me. Every Sunday I cried and I cried, pleading to him for forgiveness, but I never really thought he gave it to me. Looking back, I see how wrong I was.The forgiveness was already mine. I didn’t have to earn it. Every time I confessed and repented, I believe I was forgiven. But I couldn’t get past forgiveness into healing. I was fixated on forgiveness, unaware that what I needed most was healing, the healing that comes when we confess our sins to one another….
Healing comes when we confess our sins to another, pray for each other. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but healing always comes. I was fortunate enough to find some other broken Christians with whom it was safe to tell the truth. They didn’t have to raise the alarm that there was a sinner among them. They just welcomed me in as a brother.
Nate is right. Healing come through confessing our sins with one another. Most importantly, without genuine confession we are not really willing to pay the price to honour Jesus! Whenever the issue of confession of sins to others comes up, people always that there's no one to confess to because trust is scarce. Does that stand up to scrutiny?
It seems to me that this all a question of vantage point. If the issue is seen from the perspective of the person struggling with sin, then the imperative for them should not be trust but truth. What stops you revealing that you are struggling with a particular sin to another Christian is not there's no one to trust, it is that you don't have a sufficient appreciation of what Jesus has already done for you through his death and resurrection. We must keep central that that Jesus has purchased our forgiveness and taken away all our shame. There is no condemnation for all who are in Jesus Christ. We know the verses, but do we actually live by them? The more we accept the finished work of a Christ the easier confession becomes.
The other hindrance to confessing our sins to others is that we don't want to be like Jesus at any cost. We want Jesus plus everything else. We may not admit it to others publicly but we know that deep down that we love the darkness because within us are remnants of our sinful nature. There is something in us that pushes us to reject confession because at a deeper level we don't want to be healed from sin and give up everything. There's a degree to which we love wallowing in our sins regardless of how knowledgeable we are of what Jesus has done . Most importantly we live in a sinful world which is constantly pulling us away from focusing on Jesus and what he has already done for us.
Rather than denying this we need to accept that we cant help but do God on our own terms. Too often there’s no genuine desire to become like Jesus. We may kid ourselves that we love Jesus, but for many of us it is more of having affair with Jesus rather than a deep commitment of marriage to Him. If change is to happen God needs to change our hearts so that we can unreservedly love and trust him. The process of being a Christian is a process of dying to ourselves. And that is an impossible task without constant prayer and work of God the Spirit. As we pray and surrender to him we begin to ask people to pray for us for things that we are really struggling with. Spiritual maturity is when our public lives converges with our private lives in honour and adoration of Jesus in how we think and act.
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013
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