The Confessional

Recently, I read an article that mentioned Pope Francis doing something stunning (as usual). He spoke on confessing sins and why it is important in the Catholic church. He then proceeded to kneel before an ordinary priest and confess his sins. The crowd was stunned. Apparently, this is not usual for a Pope to do. I just finished teaching the book of James and in James, he speaks of “confessing our sins one to another.”

I’ve been pondering this. 

I went looking for a confessional to photograph.  

Another story I heard touched my heart. A pastor*  in the heart of San Francisco attends every gay pride parade. He and his congregation confess the sins of the church to the homosexual community and ask their forgiveness for the way the church has hurt them.  

What if Christians began confessing their sins to the world, instead of pointing out the sins of the world? Oh, in case anyone is wondering, it’s not a Christian’s job to point out the sin of the world. There is Someone much more qualified for this job. The Apostle John said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

I am going to ask again. What if Christians began confessing their sin to the world, instead of pointing out the sins of the world? 

Right now, I am doing an exercise for Lent. I’ve added something to my life for Lent this year. This led me to think about the practice of Lent. You see, I never see anyone say they will give up pride or gossip or lust for Lent. What if Facebook blew up with the Christian community telling the world they were giving these things up for Lent? 

I enjoyed a peaceful moment in this beautiful church. 

Step into my Confessional. 

I confess that I am a glutton. 
I confess that I am prideful. 
I confess that I judge the Body of Christ, whom Jesus loves. 
I confess that often my beliefs don’t line up with my actions. (I know the right thing to do but I do not do it)
I confess that I am afraid to speak my opinions because of what others will think of me (this may not be sin to you, but it is to me.)
I confess that I want others attention and approval and at times, I act out to get it. 
I confess that I covet other’s material possessions. 
I confess I have an inner world that people seldom see and it isn’t pretty. 

Shall I continue? The list goes on…but I think you get my point. I am grateful that each and every one of these sins is covered. This topic has been on my mind and so I write and question. If I have concerns about the church, well, guess what? I am the Church. If I want to see these things change, then I must begin to live them out. I desire to live out the Gospel in my every day life. Care to join me? 

I’d love to hear from you. What do you think about the question I posed? What if Christians began sharing their struggles with sin instead of pointing out the sins of the world? 

*Gordon Wohlers, First Christian Church, San Francisco

4 thoughts on “The Confessional

  1. Your honesty is beautiful. I love the story about the Pope. Gosh, I love him. I wish we, as Christians, would allow others to see our struggles. I wish we would trust God's grace with ourselves and with the world. xx


  2. so many points inspire me here, not the least of which is your honesty and frankness and humility, and as i see it, tremendous self love in the act of confessing. thank you. x


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