I understood why confession is a teaching of the Bible when one weekend I, as part of my recovery process, gathered in a room with a large group, sharing with radical honesty about the ways in which we’ve lied in order to look good; enjoyed being a victim in order to get sympathy or praise; omitted part of the truth from a loved one to avoid looking bad; gossiped or slandered others in order to appear right or superior; lied; cheated; gossiped; exaggerated an accomplishment; fabricated an accomplishment altogether; and more.
There is always pain and fear behind this sort of behavior, and all of us, to varying degrees, have participated in it. The recipients of such behaviors often do not suffer nearly to the extent the perpetrators are already suffering. It became obvious the madness in communities or families that meet such behavior with punishment, condemnation, or judgment, thus poking the wounds, aggravating and deepening the fears of abandonment or rejection that caused the sinful behavior in the first place!
We might like to replace the word “confess,” with all its baggage and misuse, to something more accurate: “to be yourself.” The goal of confessing is not to admit how different, bad, or wrong we have been. It is not to satisfy a need to punish, or be punished. Its purpose to allow oneself to be fully seen and accepted completely. Only True Love – full understanding of the fear that drives human behavior & acceptance of that fear without judgment– could heal all the pain in the world. This is the Love of God.