Thursday, November 23, 2006
I am always surprised when people are so surprised that others, even leaders, fail morally. What happened to Ted? If confession is the answer to maintaining personal purity; and I think it is, then we need to look closely at those barriers. All things being equal, some of those barriers include personal pride and arrogance, lack of transparency (fear of being judged or ridiculed), the sin nature itself and the direct attacks of Satan. Every believer suffers from both the inward and outward pressure of all of these. There is one more barrier worth mentioning which needs a closer look; the "church." In nearly 30 years as a believer, I find that it can often be an unfriendly place to confess anything. I am saddened to say that rarely did I find people being transparent about poor marital relationships, addictions and various and sundry other moral failings. So I did the same. The church has not always been a safe place for the nitty-gritty of honest and regular confession.
How did we get there? So what keeps us from uttering the words, "I failed," "I was wrong," or some other phrase that leaves us nakedly reciting our struggles? What concerned me then, and still does today, is the lack of relationship in the church. If the key to confession is intimacy; and I think it is, then it, coupled with the power of loving-kindness should make it the healing power that James said it would be. Where is the wine, the oil and the salt? In our busy lives we don't have time for much more then small talk. Many of us spend more time at work or school then we do with our families. Church on Sunday can be a whirlwind of kids, coffee and klatches. Kinship for the daily commuter is just another chair to sit in after a long day at the office.
I often think of King David. He didn't find it easy to confess his sin. I guess what amazed me about King David (and Bill Clinton) is that God had the grace to leave them in power. Wow! God, he doesn't judge us. He doesn't even give us what we deserve. I might note that neither of them ever seemed healed after their failures. Why? Because it is confession, not humiliation that heals us. Loving-kindness that is what brings us to confession. It is the love of God, not the judgment of man the heals us.