Protestants like myself don’t really go into confessional booths to confess our sins to a priest. It just seems like a strange thing—kind of like something from another culture that I don’t know much about. (No offence to any of the Roman Catholics out there. If that’s a part of your life, that’s awesome—go for it!)
For the most part, Protestants don’t confess to priests. They may talk about their concerns, secrets or moral failures to a pastor, small group leader or friend, but they mostly confess directly to God.
But recently I came across something that has made me rethink the power of other people in the whole confession process. It was a study that said confessing your sins to another person helps reduce stress and also lessen anxiety and depression.
When we get together with others, rolling out the personal sin list isn’t usually number #1 on the fun agenda.
But this study makes me rethink things a bit. What if confessing your sins to another person actually helps you reduce stress and also lessen anxiety and depression?
Maybe it’s because each sin weighs a thousand pounds. You can’t “feel” it, but you can FEEL it. And there’s no feeling like something choking you from the inside.
So today, I wonder: Is something choking you from the inside? From your past? Or even from your present? If so, maybe you need to find someone you trust and spill your guts with an all-out honesty that maybe even kind of scares you.
They won’t be able to forgive you like God can. But they may be able to offer a skylight for your conscience.
Consider Proverbs 28:13: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” If you conceal your sin you will not prosper. But if you confess and renounce it, you will find mercy.
Sounds good to me!
You may never go in and out of a confessional booth. But you may go into an honest conversation with someone you trust, and come out with less stress and more peace.
By Matthew Ruttan