What inhibits us from the effective practice of confession, either privately or corporately? Here are the top 10 confession killers:
1. Shame. Often, it seems as if everyone else has their act together … surely they don’t have any problems or struggles with sin! This (very fallacious!) view leads us to shame, and an unwillingness to confess our own faults.
2. Pride. Then there is the case for pride. The same pride that changed Lucifer, the angel of light, into Satan, the prince of darkness, threatens us today and every day. When we are unwilling to admit, even to ourselves, that we are sinners, we have allowed pride to cut us off from the forgiveness of our heavenly Father.
3. Ignorance. On the other hand, sometimes we actually do not know what is and is not sin. For new Christians, this is understandable. But for the rest of us, it is not only not understandable – it is inexcusable. We are called to know God’s Word well so that we will not sin against God (Psalm 119:11).
4. Sloth. Sloth was one of the original seven deadly sins, but we tend to ignore it today. We’re simply too lazy to truly examine ourselves and see where we went wrong.
5. Self-abasement. Humility is good. A worm-of-the-earth mentality is not. Humility drives us to God to confess. Self-abasement makes us think that we’re so bad that God couldn’t forgive us anyway, so why bother confessing?
6. Culture. Our entire culture today focuses on being positive and happy. This has even crept into the Church, where we often focus so much on God’s love and goodness that we forget his righteous judgment of sin.
7. Ambiguity. Being vague is a great way to avoid reality. We pray, “Lord, please forgive all my sins,” but we don’t actually go about naming them. Then, we don’t feel quite so guilty for continuing to commit them.
8. Euphemisms. In our politically correct world, we are surrounded by people who call “evil” “good” by giving it another name, e.g., “alternative lifestyles.” When we find better sounding labels for our own sins, it makes us feel justified – instead of judged.
9. Assumptions. We make assumptions about God – we may think he’s so good and loving that he’ll “let it slide” so we don’t bother confessing, or we think he’s up there with a baseball bat to bash us, and so we’re scared to confess.
10. Belittlement. We tend to view some sins as “smaller” than others and therefore negligible – forgetting that all sin, great or small, cuts us off from God.
Never forget John’s words of warning and hope in I John 1:8-9: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Don’t let these confession killers destroy you!