I'll never forget when I confessed committing adultery.
Though it was a long time ago, shivers still run up and down my spiritual spine when it comes to mind.
It was while meeting with another guy who had come to confess he had just committed adultery.
It was kinda like Bill Clinton going to see Jesse Jackson.
Anyway, as I was listening to myself telling the sorry sucker that God's into forgiveness especially when we admit how we've, uh, screwed up (confession) and then pray and labor to change directions from bad to good behavior (repentance), my pure-and-perfect-mask-wearing-I'm-better-than-you-at-least-in-hiding-my-sin hypocrisy became nauseatingly unbearable.
I felt an overwhelming compulsion to confess my adultery to him before counseling him to...
Then it/He happened.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, I reached down and took off one of my always super-shined Bass Weejun penny loafers, showed it to him, and then turned it over to reveal a gaping hole in the sole.
Immediately, he/we got the convicting metaphor; and recognized we had something in, uh, common.
We were/are sorry suckers in need of a Savior.
Then we confessed and covenanted to hold each other responsible/accountable for the future.
It was a turning point in my life and ministry.
Instead of propping up myself as somehow above it all compared to others, I stepped down and began to share humanity as preface to praising God for His grace to restore relationships concomitant to the divine directions of 1 John 1:1-10.
Certainly, I have discovered confession is sooooooo good for the soul but sooooooo bad for the reputation; as some folks mirroring my self-description in the fifth sentence-paragraph of the preceding section actually invoked/invoke my own words to discredit me whenever it made/makes 'em feel better about being the sorry suckers that they try to hide from...
I've also learned how disarming it is to dump garbage before speck-inspectors dig it up; and it's kinda fun to observe their frustration when I pre-empt their dark lusts to damn.
It's so liberating to stop pretending being better than I'm not and acknowledge the need for Jesus as Savior as well as Lord.
It's also encouraged so many sorry suckers like me to come to me and allow me the privilege of pointing 'em to Jesus as Savior as well as Lord.
Since then, I haven't been doing very well with folks mirroring my self-description in the fifth sentence-paragraph of the preceding section.
Indeed, after a few seasons of finding refreshment in my witness to Jesus, they usually leave out the back door of the body of Christ - another really good metaphor - because they prefer church as pretend/masquerade.
Still, I'm noticing more and more and more people even including pastors who are hungry/thirsty to be right/restored with/to Him and don't want to play that game anymore.
Most of 'em are going to those so-called emerging churches that are being planted or, uh, emerging from the submerged ones because they really, really, really need church so much more than pretend/masquerade.
Pastor Gass' devotion for 2/11/11 (www.thevinetoday.com) is much better at explaining what I caught when I looked down at those penny loafers so long ago: "Under pressure, you falter. Now what do you do? Dismiss it: 'Everybody slips; it's no big deal.' Deny it: 'Fall? Are you joking? Not me!' Distort it: 'Don't blame me; it was their fault!' But there's another option - to deal with it honestly...Confession isn't just telling God what you've done. He already knows. It's agreeing that it's wrong and asking forgiveness. God can't heal what you won't reveal or cleanse what you won't confess...When your tears of repentance meet Christ's forgiveness, you lose your guilt and find new joy!"
Whenever I admit I'm just like every other sorry sucker in the world specifically and unmistakably, I feel immediately relieved and immediately privileged to know Savior and Lord Jesus and share Him with other sorry suckers.
I think that's when authentic Christian ministry commences.
The preceding was prompted as I read one of my favorite spiritual magazines: the 2/7/11 edition of Golf World; specifically John Feinstein's column on "Athletes, Fame and Accountability."
It's intense: "Shortly after the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the New York Jets to reach the Super Bowl, CBS' Jim Nantz interviewed Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger...'Ben, with all you've been through this year...'...Stop! Seriously, when will the media and world stop treating athletes who behave inexcusably as if they are somehow victims?...[Ben]...got himself suspended by the NFL...for acting like a fool...At best he's a boor; at worst he's a celebrity who avoided prosecution on a sexual-assault charge because he was rich enough to lawyer-up in a hurry."
He moves to golf: "Which brings us to...Tiger Woods...[Announcers keep making excuses for Woods not winning by saying]...'What Tiger's been through'...Neither Woods nor Roethlisberger has 'been through' anything. They have put people through hell...Roethlisberger should be applauded for his play - nothing more. When Woods wins another major he, too, should be applauded for his play. In neither case should there be talk about redemption overcoming anything."
Anyone familiar with Bonhoeffer's Ethics knows he was very concerned about people - and especially church people who claim Christianity - who confuse "goodness" with "success" - noting how the liberal church of Germany went with the Nazis because they were successful.
Feinstein: "Sports fans tend to make the following connection: If he's a great athlete/coach, he must be a great person."
But if we're really into Jesus, we've got to come to two conclusions.
First, everybody's a sorry sucker in some way.
It's a Romans 3:23 thing.
Second, nobody's beyond the forgiveness/redemption of Jesus.
It's a John 3:16-17 juxtaposed to 1 John 1:1-10 thing.
So if that sorry sucker and I can be forgiven/redeemed for our adulteries, so can Ben, Tiger, and everybody else; including, uh, you.
I believe admitting shared humanity in need of Savior Jesus would solve a lot of the problems in our world and even church.
People wouldn't get so po'ed when people mess up because they'd admit all people mess up every now and then.
People who know they mess up would be more gracious to people who mess up.
Or something like that.
All I know is it's a lot easier to deal with sorry suckers than folks mirroring my self-description in the fifth sentence-paragraph of the first section.
Luke 18:9-14 comes to mind...along with those penny loafers.
Blessings and Love!
Sharing, as I do, much in common with the apostle Paul (in a 1Tmothy 1.15 kind of way), I echo your comments about everyone belonging to the "poor sucker" club. I also confess that I did not want Big Ben to win the Super Bowl, for pretty much the same reason that I am bugged by how a certain linebacker in Baltimore got away with...breaking the 6th commandment.
Of course, I've gotten away with breaking all ten of the rules Moses brought back from his close encounter with Yahweh. Well, not gotten away with, I, like you, have confessed all to another man.
What I believe the real struggle is, is that us poor suckers who have confessed to being poor suckers, is that we have a problem, not so much with the Bens and the Rays, but with the system and mindset that enables their getting away with not having to admit to being as poor as the rest of us succkers. Even though I know God doesn't work this way, I kind of hope he puts Packer DBs in the path of Big Ben passes. Even more, I pray he puts his Son in Big Ben's path, and Tigers; because he care enough to put Jesus in mine.
WOW! that is an incredible article! candid, spiritual and invoking. thank you for your honesty and putting it on the line for men of God, particularly those in ministry!
This blog brought me tears. Thank you Bob
Post a Comment