I’ll admit, it drives me crazy when people “confess” to doing something that’s not a sin, and I’ll confess, it leads me to address it in a blog post instead of more directly.
See what I did there? I admitted to a shortcoming (being impatient with people who confess frivolously), but I confessed to a sin (addressing it in a blog). You see, I admit to shortcomings (my lack of patience is one), but what I do with that lack of patience can become a confession-worthy sin.
I regularly hear a pastor say, “I confess,” and then he confesses something silly, like liking pizza or donuts, or enjoying singing in his car. Yes, seriously. These aren’t sins for which one should confess. He’s not gluttonous, and he sings decently (and who cares how someone sings when they’re in the car enjoying themselves?). Yet, never does he invite people to come up at the end of the service, confess their sins, repent of them, and make a decision to follow Christ (a basic component of most Baptist worship services).
I admit that I like pizza and donuts and singing in the car. Shoot, I car dance! And I do it with gusto, because I enjoy it, my girls enjoy it, and it makes people smile. I admit to feeling angry sometimes, and I confess to losing my temper on occasion. I will freely admit to my shortcomings, and I will confess my sins. Since I’m trying to lose weight, liking donuts and pizza – and eating them – is a shortcoming. Going to a pizza buffet and filling up on pizza and pasta is something for which a confession is appropriate.
This pastor I hear throws his “confessions” around loosely. Yet, he seldom if ever calls on his congregants to confess their sins – things that are worthy of confession. And when this pastor sinned against my husband and me, he failed to confess to it. See, in the church, without confession of sin, there can be no forgiveness. Yet for those walking in fullness of life in Christ, forgiveness is required to maintain that full life.
If you’re going to confess, confess sins. We all do it; none of us is alone in sinning. When we as Christians “confess” to non-sins, then the whole act of confession loses its meaning. It becomes hollow, because we lose all sense of what it means to confess something wrong that we do or did. We get so wrapped up in confessing little, piddly stuff that we overlook the big, ugly sins we commit against God and against those with whom we share life’s journey.
As I teach my younger daughter, “Watch your words.” Be mindful of those “confessions” you make. Speak in sincerity with integrity. Confess real sins, not frivolous preferences, like liking junk food. Liking junk food isn’t a sin; glutting on junk food is. Be aware of real sin is. That is worthy of our confessions.