1st John 1.8-9 NASU
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
When I was a boy, my dad and little brother and I faithfully performed the ritual of “confession” every Saturday night in preparation for Mass the following day. Revealing my sins to a priest in a dark booth apparently absolved me of all past wrongdoing, granting me clearance to receive the sacrament of holy communion on Sunday. I was required to recite a few “Hail Mary’s” and an “Our Father” or two and, after completing my penance, could leave the sanctuary free from sin.
Does this sound ridiculous? Did this weekend ritual truly cleanse my soul? As silly as it now seems, I then believed it did and I always felt better after confession.
Sin. What an ugly, unpopular, little word. Except for many Roman Catholics (who discuss their personal sins with a priest on Saturday night) or certain Protestants (who willingly hear about their sins from the pulpit on Sunday morning), people will not tolerate the subject. The concept of “sin” is offensive to progressive thinkers and never used in polite conversation. The very word is nearly unspeakable and banned to the ‘island of forbidden subject matter’ along with other very bad words like “guilt,” “holy,” “Jesus,” and “discipline.”
Sin, however, is a reality, whether we accept it or not. All of us have some of it residing in the dark crevices of our souls. John said if we deny it we are self-deceived. He also assured Christ-followers that “the blood of Jesus… cleanses us from all sin” (1st John 1.7), a reality which may be ours through the regular practice of humble confession.
I probably felt better on Saturday nights for a reason.