In Austria recently we explored Catholic churches… ornate statues, beautiful symbols of faith, complex depictions of local saints… and simple confessional boxes. It’s not my religious tradition; is confession good for the soul?
Prime Minister – Resign! Recent calls for Boris Johnson to stand down as Prime Minister have involved questions about honesty, integrity, respect, decency, professionalism… Would confession be good for Boris’ soul?
Steve’s court case… Yesterday my friend Steve was in court charged with drunken driving. He pleaded guilty, offered no excuses and received his fine and driving ban. Was confession good for Steve’s soul?
School Confessions… Working in school I was often required to determine who was responsible for starting a playground fight, defacing a noticeboard, swearing on the school bus… Some children, like Boris, evaded, deceived, changed their story… Others were straightforward, like Steve… ‘It was me’. I know which confession was good for my soul!
Confession’s good for the soul because it involves…
…honesty In confession I come clean. Whatever I’ve done, however I’ve messed up. Whatever may have been hidden is now out in the open.
…responsibility I take responsibility for my lies, cheating, unkindness, hurt. The thoughts, words, actions were mine. They involved others to whom I’m accountable.
…stages Different levels of confession have different audiences… I confess to myself… friends… an unknown councillor or priest… the public… those with faith may confess to their God…
…fresh start Confession is a foundation for a fresh start. When I’ve confessed I’m then able to rebuild and plan for the future.
Following Steve’s arrest as he was honest with himself, his family and the authorities; he took responsibility for his actions; in court yesterday there was public confession; he’ll pay his fine, serve his ban; he can now rebuild his life
I hope Boris will learn what Steve has.
Musing… This morning’s reading: ‘People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them they will receive mercy.’(Proverbs 28:11)