As Christians, we have been given only one mechanism to deal with sin in our lives: confession. There simply is no other means of prevailing over sin. Confession is our only hope.
Much of what I understand scripture to teach us about confession comes from my old friend, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. So today I will not bore you with my words; rather, I will challenge you with his. Take a minute to let his words (from Life Together) about confession of our sins to one another settle in your heart. Here was a man who understood some things about the transforming power of community.
Breaking Through to Community
In confession the break-through to community takes place. Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen even in the midst of a pious community…
The expressed, acknowledged sin has lost all its power…It can no longer tear the fellowship asunder. Now the fellowship bears the sin of the brother. He is no longer alone with his evil for he has cast off his sin in confession and handed it over to God…Now he stands in the fellowship of sinners who live by the grace of God in the cross of Jesus Christ.
Breaking Through to the Cross
In confession occurs the break-through to the cross…Confession in the presence of a brother is the profoundest kind of humiliation. It hurts, it cuts a man down, it is
Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and reposted for your consideration and comments.
“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community… Let him who is not in community beware of being alone…If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ, and thus your solitude can only be hurtful to you.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
It is simple, really. We are pre-wired by our creator to live in community with others. This is doubly true for Spirit-filled believers. Not only do we have our natural inclination toward community, but God’s design for His church is that His Spirit would manifest itself through individuals in a way which binds the community together. In other words, we are actually stronger together than we are alone. And we learn more together and grow Spiritually together.
We are not unlike the giant redwoods of the Western United States. The largest single living organism in our world, these trees grow to be hundreds of feet tall and live thousands of years. Walking among them is one of the most breath-taking experiences I have ever had. But did you know that a giant redwood cannot survive by itself? It can only grow to its fullest measure in community with other redwoods. The reason is simple…it has no tap root. Rather, its root system spreads out laterally in every direction, searching for root systems of other redwood trees. These magnificent creatures actually “join hands” underground, their root systems growing together and becoming one system. They actually draw their strength and their growth from one another. It is why you will never find a fully matured giant redwood growing all by itself.