Ella, my 6 year old, looked at me with sheep dog eyes as she stumbled over those words, “Mommy, sometimes Satan tells me you’re stupid. And I can’t get him to stop telling me.”
It’s confession time before bed, and it’s just me and Ella in her room. And when she tells me this, by the grace of God, I don’t take offense-at all. Because we all think evil thoughts, and honestly that is where I sin the most-in my thoughts. I looked at her and said, “Satan says ugly things to me too, and wants me to believe them as truth. And yep, mommy sins against you, and so sometimes it might feel as if I’m being stupid to you. But sometimes, you won’t understand the things that I am telling you to do because you are the child and not the parent.” (Things like: I tell her it’s shower night, and Ella complains because she took a shower 2 days ago.) :)
In this moment, I was praising Jesus because Ella was being so honest with me, and she was recognizing sin that I am just now learning to recognize in my own life, and she wanted to confess it. Not only to Jesus, but to the person she had wronged. Wow.
One of the most tempting lies for every human being in this fallen world—is to believe that our greatest problems exist outside us rather than inside us. Despite this, the Bible calls us to humbly confess that the greatest, deepest, most abiding problem each of us faces is inside of us, not outside. The Bible names that problem “sin.” You know that you have been gifted with grace when you are able to say, “My greatest relationship problems are because of what’s inside of me not outside of me.”-The Grace of Confession.
Confession time- something we started a few months back with our children before bed. A nightly ritual that we do one on one with our kids. We each confess to each other a sin or sins that we did that day. The practice of a parent confessing to a child is humbling to say the least. We confess sins that are age appropriate of course, but I’ve been stuck a night or two trying to think frantically of what I can say…and then reminded by my child of my anger earlier that day. I’m a big sinner to be sure, but it’s in my mind where I struggle the most, and when you don’t have a “receipt” for your sin, (I was angry, so I hit my brother), it’s hard to think about. So I realized along the way of life that I hardly ever have confessed sin to my Lord because I don’t necessarily think about it. And then you get caught in the trap of thinking, “I’m not really sinning, it’s just who I am.” But God calls us to confess our sins.
1 John 1:8-9 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Example: I am not a loving person. It doesn’t come natural to me to love on someone and think of their emotional and physical needs before mine. So I might see/hear of someone who needs a hug or a shoulder to cry on (super hard for me) and that would mean me giving up a night on my couch watching The Bachelorette so I can pray with them. But I shove that thought out of my mind. I deserve a night on the couch because I’ve had such a busy week. Am I sinning because it’s not in my nature to love others well, so I choose to “forget” to ask my friend if they would like to go out for a walk? Yes. That is my sin.
I am just now learning to become more aware of these sins though because I am thinking throughout the day, “What will I confess to my daughter and to the Lord tonight?” What a blessing.
And there’s more: Repentence. Restoration. Redemption. Hope. Forgiveness. Honesty.
After we confess our sins to each other we pray and ask God for forgiveness. And the parent always brings it back to the Gospel message in their prayer. We are forgiven and clean because of Jesus dying on the cross for your sin and mine. There are consequences for sin, but shame and guilt? No. Jesus died for that.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
From the Grace of Confession by Paul Tripp:
Confession shouldn’t be this scary thing we do our best to avoid. Sin, weakness, and failure shouldn’t be the constant elephant in the room that we all know is there but can’t (or won’t) talk about. Instead, confession is a wonderful gift that every relationship needs. It should be liberating, not understood as a moment of personal and relational loss. Our confession should be propelled by deep appreciation and gratitude toward God, who has made it possible for us to no longer fear being exposed.
Because of what Jesus has done for us, we do not have to hide or excuse our wrongs. We’re freed from posing as if we’re perfect. In our heart of hearts we know we’re not. We can stare our problems in the face with hope and courage because Christ has made possible real, lasting, personal, change in our relationships.