Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Power of Confession

The words confession can have religious connotations but really it's just a word that means the admission of something you did or thought (usually wrong), that you never mentioned or admitted before.

When you keep a secret, it holds a powerful place in your mind and heart. Once it's released, it loses that power over you--especially if it is something bad or wrong. There is something that happens though when you finally say it aloud.

I've experienced this in my own life. Last summer, I met with a prayer counselor (not a therapist). I was already in a place to be able to release long held 'secrets'. I was ready to finally and truly let go of hurts, wounds and offenses, some I had perpetrated, some that were perpetrated against me. I 'confessed' things I had never uttered aloud. It was amazing. I was free in a way I never expected to be. I forgave and I was forgiven. The confession allowed those secrets to lose any and all power I perceived they had over me.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed... James 5:16a

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

I've seen this work in other's lives as well. Secrets, being held onto for months or years, revealed and suddenly the 'secret' no longer has a hold on their lives. Especially if the 'secret' is something we are thinking, rather than acting out on. A wrong or false belief system, about ourselves or others.

The lack of confession is also how bitterness, unforgiveness and other negative feelings are enabled to take root within our hearts. Maybe someone has offended you or you simply perceive they offended you, but you don't say anything. You don't seek clarity or try to rectify the situation. You hold it in and continue to harbor ill feelings; anger, a grudge, it grows deeper and now every interaction with that person is filtered through the bitterness of that original wound. It may have been an easily explained misunderstanding but because you never sought to clarify, you keep the wound fresh with the label you have created, on it.

Confession is highly underestimated. Often, it is held captive by fear. I know that was how it was for me. The incident I never spoke of, never told a soul and hope the other party involved, never remembered...there was major fear attached to it. What others would think of me, mainly. It was ugly. I buried it. As best as I could anyway. Until the moment I realized I was done carrying around that luggage. It was too heavy and even if it wasn't, it was made heavier by everything else I had packed into it. All the other wounds, offenses and secrets I added to it, packed nicely and not so nicely, in that ragged and dark piece of luggage.

Finally, my desire to be free finally overwhelmed my fear and I said it. I was embarrassed for a split second but not even embarrassment could hold me back a moment longer...I saw the freedom that was waiting for me and I wanted it more than anything else. I said it...and everything tumbled out after it. It was done. Finished. I was forgiven and I forgave.

There was no reaction from the prayer counselor...I was comforted by telling myself she had probably heard worse...but even if she hadn't--I didn't care anymore. I was DONE! I was ripping open the luggage, spilling the contents and I was going to walk in freedom from that moment on.

When we confess something that is an inner thought, if it is negative or wrong, hearing ourselves say it aloud, when it's an untruth--it's as if suddenly our brain clicks and recognizes it as a lie. Once we release the lies we tell ourselves, we now have space for the truth. When we speak truth aloud, it enables it into being.

How we think and what we say are so connected to how we behave. We can tell ourselves lies all the time and then act out on those lies and eventually believe them to be true. When we meditate on real truth, then verbalize it, we are free to release when it's negative and embrace when it's positive.

I can tell myself I don't understand a situation, over and over, and I never will. Or I can tell myself; I don't understand right now but I will eventually, and I will. My mind accepts there will be an answer instead of shutting down, like I've hit a brick wall.

We can speak positive about our lives and our lives will be positive. We can choose to be grateful and thankful for what we have, and we will be. Or we can focus negatively only on what we don't have and complain, then we will never have enough, see? It's how we think and how we speak...what we confess or what we don't.

Release fear and embrace freedom. Think the right thoughts, speak the right words, do the right thing. You will be well and your life will be good.

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