Monday, September 17, 2007

Confessing the sins of Christians can open doors

Whenever young adults read Blue Like Jazz, a popular book on spirituality with this age group, invariably their favorite part is "the confession booth." Author Donal Miller tells of going onto the campus of Reid College, a very liberal university in the northwest, and setting up a confession booth. However, as those on campus come into the booth--expecting to chastise those who would presume to take the confessions of others--they hear Miller and other Christians confess the sins of Christians--judgmentalism, hypocrisy, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquistion, hatred, and the like.

This confession is totally disarming. When we confess our wrongs, it takes away people's fight. It is only when we pretend we have no problems or are defensive that the fight persists. If we want to reach non-Christians, confession will open many doors.

Some wonder whether it is legitimate or even possible for us to apologize on the behalf of others. Note, however, the following prayer of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 1:5b-6

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you."

Here, Nehemiah confesses not only his own sin, but that of his father's house and all of Israel. Furthermore, what parent has not apologized on behalf of his child? If apologizing for all the wrong that Christians have done helps us reach the lost, why would we resist this?

What do you think about confessing the sins that Christians have committed to non-Christians?