Robert Mulholland Jr wrote that the transforming work which God wants to do in our lives is always “for the sake of others” (Mulholland 1993, 48). So how would something like the Spiritual Discipline of Confession be practiced “for the sake of others”?
A student who asked to remain anonymous recently discovered how this could be so when given the opportunity to practice the discipline after studying "confession" in class. Over the course of our study, we talked about how confession can help us accept God’s grace and forgiveness for past sins, particularly those for which we struggle to accept His grace and forgiveness on our own. Sharing with someone a past sin that continues to cause pain and hurt can lead to healing and freedom after hearing the words You are forgiven! No doubt, God’s grace is sufficient to cover our sins; sometimes, however, we just need to hear this truth from someone else.
Read about how this student got to be someone who shared the truth of God’s forgiveness:
“Instantly my mind flashed back to the reading we did on accepting a confession,” she said as she reflected on her experience of finding herself standing across from someone who had begun to open up about a past sin in her life. “While I listened to her, my mind stayed fully focused on her story and how it affected her life. It was evident, by the way she spoke about it, that some parts of her sin had not fully healed, and I knew in my heart that God wanted me to be the voice that told her she was forgiven. So after she finished her story, I prayed with her and told her that God had forgiven her. Overall, it was a deeply moving experience and has given the word confession a new meaning for me."
Over the next several weeks as we explore what it might mean for us to be ALL IN for others, let’s be reminded of God’s grace and forgiveness. By the time it’s all said and done, who knows ... You might be asked to share it with someone.
Mulholland, M. Robert, Jr. 1993. Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.