Have you ever had really good food? The kind of food that you just wanted to eat slowly and enjoy every single bite? My wife made pumpkin bread at the beginning of this week. It is that way. I love warming it up and letting some butter melt over it. It is so good. I don’t know what it might be for you. Maybe a hearty steak or a rich chocolate cake. I love the look on Morgan’s face when she has a bite of Thai curry. Such bliss. Mmmm. Good food is just good.
Have you ever had bad food? Maybe it was the taste. Or maybe it was the texture. My friend Greg can’t stand onions. He loves the flavor. He just can’t stand the texture. Maybe the food itself wasn’t bad tasting or feeling, but you got food poisoning. My freshman year my stomach couldn’t handle college. I spent a good bit of time in the bathroom and over a trashcan or lying on my bed. It was gross. There’s hardly anything worse than an awful stomach ache. Bad food is just plain bad.
I’m not sure what you think of when you first come across the word “confession.” A courtroom with someone pleading guilty. A priest on the other side of the grate in a confession booth. An awkward small group meeting where everyone goes around the circle to say all the things they did wrong that week. And then doing it again the week after and the week after and on and on. Maybe you’ve seen or experienced one of these pictures. I think these may get at a small piece of confession, but altogether fall short.
In college I learned that the greek word translated confession in the New Testament is ὁμολογἐλω (homologeo). It’s made up of two words: “homo” and “logos.” Do you recognize either of those? “Homo” means same and “logos” means word. So essentially the greek word means “to say the same word” and in most contexts it means “to say the same word as God.” I always thought that was pretty cool. Because if that’s true then confession is a lot bigger than just unloading our sin.
I think confession is a lot like good food and bad food. It’s not all one thing. It’s a lot bigger than that.
Sometimes confession is like those days my freshman year after food poisoning. Sometimes sin and bad stuff is in our soul like bad food in our stomach. What we need is to vomit. It just needs to come out. In this sense, confession is saying the same word about sin that God says about it. It’s calling sin sin and getting it out.
Sometimes confession is like savoring delicious food. It’s like those moments after Morgan baked a loaf of pumpkin bread. Sometimes the scriptures speak about confessing sin (Psalm 32, James 5:16, 1 John 1:9) but there are maybe even more times that it speaks about confessing Jesus (Romans 10:9, Philippians 2:11, 1 John 4:15). In this sense, confession is saying the same word about Jesus that God says about him. It’s calling Jesus Lord and worshipping him!
All of this has been swirling around in me for awhile now. What I want is to take a few weeks and sit in this. I want to meditate on each side of confession. Because confession is both of sin and of Jesus; it is both apology and affirmation. In the days and weeks ahead I want to apologize for my sins and affirm the truths I hold most dear. In the coming posts are but a few confessions.