They say farting (or “tooting”) freely and often is a sign of excellent good health. If you talk to the right people, they’ll tell you that you should let the gas escape to give bodily relief–this is a waste-product of your completed the digestion cycle. If you’re uncomfortable with this subject, you’re not alone. I don’t think I would be comfortable with it even if I was a biologist deeply engrossed in this field. I just don’t favor open discussion of all kinds. I think there are limits.
But the reason I bring this up is because I think the discomfort we feel about this topic is a good correlation to the discomfort we feel regarding confession of our sins to one another. We often know the contamination (of sin) is there, and even that it has been known to escape into the open at times, but we are still do our best to keep very private the details of our struggles. Somehow, we think that if we don’t speak of it, no one will notice that we really are worthy of the title “sinner.” (Choke!)
I think this is not only a shame, but it is wrong. This is not how God has called us to live. He wants us to show forth His grace as we live lives that showcase our weaknesses and need of grace so that grace can be seen for the blessing that it really is. If our lives hold back the evidence of grace’s necessity, how can grace truly shine against the backdrop of our lives?
Yes, sharing the concrete truth about our sin can be unpleasant and embarrassing, but does this change the fact that it is for the good of our spiritual health? The reality is that if sin is in us, it will come out. Confession is not helping more sin to come out, but acknowledging that sin is already coming out. We are admitting that we are the reason that sin comes out and we need help–a solution to deal with what’s inside.
We are often tempted to keep the most unpleasant factors of who we are to ourselves. If we can’t always hold them in, we make sure they are only exposed in absolute privacy. But, while this may be a good-manners policy regarding gas, in the case of spiritual health it is a no-no.
God cannot deal with our sin in the manner He wants if we keep holding ourselves aloof from the help He provides. Because He has already taken care of the penalty that we faced for our sin, we can and must now deal with the roots of our sin that we may be turned in the whole scope of our being toward the God who has saved us and called us to be representatives of His righteousness, peace and grace.
If we do not have peace about owning-up to our sin and the dependence on God that it makes evident in us, than it may well be that we do not yet understand God’s righteousness or grace. They are the very qualities that empower us to fellowship with others free of facades and carefully-planned frameworks for conversation. If God’s righteousness covers us, than we do not have to worry about what our righteousness says about us. If His grace boasts that we are His children, adopted into His sacrificial death, then any boast of identity besides this must be laid to rest.
It’s really quite simple. Let’s not complicate it. It may be uncomfortable to do so, but we must take advantage of grace. Coming closer to God is not necessarily comfortable, but it is ever so good! Shame is a quality that Satan tries to use against us. But instead of cowering before it, we should rejoice that it no longer holds us back from fellowship. Seeing our shame should only remind us of how glorious our Savior is who took our shame upon Himself. He did not bury our shame, but transformed into something that would make us wonder at the love He has for us–how deeply He was willing to enter into our identity and make it bow before His own.