The Power of Confession
A while ago, my mom and I had a heart to heart discussing some of our deepest wounds. It wasn’t meant to be a confession, though that is exactly what it was. We were simply being honest and open about issues we face and how they impacted each other and sometimes still do.
Recently, my husband and I had a similar conversation. Again, it wasn’t meant to be a confession, we were just being transparent about pains and weaknesses and how they affect each other. Like the conversation with my mom, our talk was liberating on many levels. We had confessed our shortcomings to God many times, and told each other sorry for things we had done, but when we exposed the depths of our souls and our own pain that caused pain in each other; it took healing to a new level and brought us closer. Through our words, love abounded and pain receded.
The freedom and restoration I experienced from these two encounters got me thinking about the power of confession. Both conversations encompassed deep wounds and I am discovering the deeper the pain the more restorative the confession. Usually we are scratching the surface when we tell someone we are sorry, but when we pour out our souls to another in love it is truly powerful.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
When and why is confession between two people so powerful that it heals years of pain? When it is grounded and flows from love. As for the why, there are many reasons it is powerful, but here are three.
1. Vulnerability in confession communicates the extent of our love for someone. A heart of confession is open, honest, contrite, humble, and doesn’t care just about itself but also others. When we are willing to be naked, vulnerable, weak and to set our pride aside it reveals our love for the other person. If we didn’t love them we wouldn’t be willing to be so open and exposed. Our willingness to unveil our souls is powerful because it infuses truth and love into the relationship
2. Words have power. Created in God’s image our words have tremendous power. They can heal or damage. Openly stating that we have caused hurt, though often unintentionally, frees and heals the hearer. Confessions are words of love, which are more potent than words of pain.
3. Truth manifests love. The more we see and know about ourselves and others in the light of God’s truth, the more we can truly love. Knowledge brings understanding which fosters love, which sets us free.
We are made to love and for that reason most of what we do involves others including our healing and theirs. Philippians 2:4 Confession is just as much about the other person as it is about us. God may know, we may know but they don’t know our heart until we speak it. When we put our pride aside, acknowledge the pain we feel and caused we love. The reward is two-fold; we are more fully freed and healed from our brokenness and so are they. Even if others aren’t ready to confess their part in creating pain, the love we show will help heal their brokenness and put them on a path of being able to face their own pain and the pain they caused.
Confession doesn’t promise something similar won’t happen again. It expresses our hearts that we don’t desire to hurt. We are human and putting off our old self and living in the new life is a process. Letting others see into our hearts to know that we desire to give love not pain covers a multitude of sins.