Confession Can Heal Your Heart

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Confession is a practice that can heal your heart.

One Sunday morning a few months after my most painful breakup, when the clouds began to part enough for a few rays of sun, I had the strongest desire to go to the local park and lay every one of my sins at God’s feet. I wanted a concentrated time of confession. I wanted to be clean again. I wanted to be forgiven.

You see, during my last relationship, I had pretty much stopped going to church. I had compromised things that were important to me, including my purity and gifts of singing (my ex had cringed when I worshiped and turned the channel when I sang in the car). And the main work project I had been working on—one I felt was from God, one that provided a lot of my monetary needs and that I, to be honest, felt unworthy to be working on—had become a big fat mess. There were other things too—like pulling away from friends and family… Lots of things…

I was tired of carrying the load.

It was a beautiful spring morning—golden sunshine, the smell of green grass, budding flowers. I poured my coffee into a travel mug, grabbed a notebook and pen, and set off for the park, breathing in the fresh smells as the world became alive again.

Sitting at a picnic table, birds singing all around, I poured out my sins to God, laying each one at his feet. With each sin I wrote down on the piece of paper, I felt a release. Acknowledging it, making it tangible, giving it to Jesus, there was something freeing about this.

Growing up, I had my foot in two worlds: Catholic and Methodist (my mom Catholic; my dad Methodist). Every few months in Catholic Sunday School (CCD), we had confession. The ritual of pondering my sins, preparing my heart, and then confessing each sin to a priest and then receiving a task to complete, to work out my repentance, I liked that. The task was usually so many “Hail Marys” or something like that, nothing too crazy. That day in the park, I was returning to a ritual that made sense to me, a tangible way of letting God know I was sorry and asking Him for a fresh start.

And when I was finished, my list was LONG. But I felt freer somehow. Lighter. Cleaner. Clearer. As I ripped up the list and tossed it in the park trashcan, I knew I was walking out repentance.

At other times in my life when I’ve been struggling with a sin that caused shame, when I finally found the courage to share with a trusted friend or counselor, I found freedom there too (and sometimes was surprised when said friend confessed that she too had struggled in that area).

The enemy would like nothing more than for us to feel like our sin is the ugliest, dirtiest sin in the entire world and that we will never be set free. He would love for us to carry that sin for as long as possible so he can keep us from freedom and our destiny for as long as possible.

I mean, how far can you go when you’re carrying heavy shackles on your feet with a heart burdened by the lead weights of shame and pain?

Is there something weighing you down? Something you’re struggling with now or something you’ve done in your past?

What about gathering a pad and a pen and having quiet time with your Father who loves you, whose love covers all your sins, who wants you to be free? Write down those things causing you shame and guilt and ask Him to reveal any hidden sins. As you write these down, as you confess them, I promise you will find freedom and clarity to move forward.

Sometimes, He will guide you to confess a certain sin to another safe person for accountability and help to overcome. Sometimes, He will lead you to make amends with an individual you have hurt in some way (as long as doing so won’t harm you or the other person).

He is a gentle God—He convicts but never condemns.

And He will lead you step-by-step to freedom, unlocking the shackles on your feet and lifting the lead weights off your heart.

When I kept silent,

my bones wasted away

through my groaning all day long.

For day and night

your hand was heavy on me;

my strength was sapped

as in the heat of summer.

 

Then I acknowledged my sin to you

and did not cover up my iniquity.

I said, “I will confess

my transgressions to the Lord.”

And you forgave

the guilt of my sin.

 

—Psalm 32:3–5

 

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6 comments

  1. This is such a tender and heartfelt post. I never saw Catholic confession in a positive light–it always seemed like hollow religious practice to me–but this post changed my perspective. Perhaps for some people it really is repentance and healing. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your description of the relationship in which you gave up so much of yourself reminds me of doing this myself years ago. Though I’ve moved forward to a much better life, forgiving myself has been a challenge. I think I’ve been way harder on myself than God who forgives me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I pray you find peace within your heart, friend. ”If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). I so relate to your comment, though. There’s another layer to the above story that is definitely going into the book because it was a true “prodigal son” moment. This day in the park was freeing in so many beautiful ways, but I continued to lug around guilt about a particular mess I had made, a choice I made that I felt had greater ramifications. But God reached down into my pit, and when I thought he was going to smite me (metaphorically), he gave me the most beautiful, undeserved grace with an almost resounding gavel to say I was forgiven. Not going to lie that this choice doesn’t cross my mind from time to time as a dull ache, but I know he has forgiven me, and I trust that he is all powerful and able to weave it into good.

      Liked by 1 person

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