I was maybe 10 years old. Possibly 11.
I hated reading (much to the disappointment of my parents, who had already raised two book worms before me).
There were, however, some books that were tolerable. At the time, for me at least, it was Ripley’s Believe it or not.
Lots of pictures.
Minimal amount of words.
Skimming through those pages wasn’t so bad, you know? Interesting facts about animals, people, cultures, weather, you name it.
However, with age, certain facts became more interesting than others…
I have a very distinct memory of sitting in my room at night. The family has gone to sleep. Me and my book. Alone.
I skip to the page: World’s most expensive bikini.
WOW, I think. Look at that model. Beautiful. Perfect.
I place my hand on the printed picture of this model. Scandalous.
Upon my hand touching the paper, all excitement flushes out of my body. Suddenly it’s rapidly replaced with guilt.
I’m a monster.
How could I touch this picture!?
I must confess.
My poor mother. Woken up. 11:57pm. On a weeknight.
My mom was wise enough to hear my very serious concern. She told me that it’s completely nature, and that it’s okay, and that I should go to sleep.
I share this story mostly because it’s embarrassing, and I now find it funny. But what I’m trying to say is this: When guilt is high, humans crave forgiveness. Even when it’s for stupid reasons. You might be laughing at my story, but how many times have you done something stupid and pointless that left you feeling guilty?!
No matter what we’re confessing, forgiveness requires confession. Confession is our first step to healing, or am I wrong?
You see, christians have this ridiculous tradition (at least, the christians of century’s past do). They would do this thing where they would confess the wrong things they’ve done to each other. Like, all the time.
In a passage from their Scriptures, the author James writes this:
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
That’s what they’d do. As a community, when people made mistakes, they’d share that mistake with each other. They’d confess.
I’ve noticed that this isn’t quite as common now-a-days as it once was.
…but who am I?
I’m just some guy who writes on the internet.
You can close this page at anytime, and you can keep doing what you’re doing. I won’t know, nor do I really care.
But if you’re looking for healing, maybe consider this ancient tradition? I know this will make my catholic brothers and sisters shutter in their seats, but I made it through many lows in high school because I had a small group of brothers in Christ who would hear my confessions (and none of them were priests!).
This week I lusted. I hear you, and you are forgiven.
This week I got jealous. I hear you, and you are forgiven.
This week I flipped out on this friend of mine. I hear you, and you are forgiven.
This week I said some really bad things. I hear you, and you are forgiven.
No wrong answers.
For me, personally, I survived because someone knew what I was going through. The fact that someone knew and cared about the problems I had, that was freeing. That freedom led me to healing. That freedom saved me.
I don’t know how so many people store up all of the issues they have inside of them. Honestly, I have no idea. I still have a friend who lived across the country who I call from time to time. Just to rant, confess, and grow. No judgement. No wrong answers. Just confession.
That’s just part of the reason why Christianity means healing. Because true Christianity means confession. And honest confession is our first step to letting go and moving on.