‘In confession there takes place a breakthrough to community. Sin wants to be alone with people. It takes them away from the community. The more lonely people become, the more destructive the power of sin over them. The more deeply they become entangled in it, the more unholy is their loneliness. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of what is left unsaid sin poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen in the midst of a pious community. In confession the light of the gospel breaks into the darkness and closed isolation of the heart. Sin must be brought into the light. What is unspoken is said openly and confessed. All that is secret and hidden comes to light. It is a hard struggle until the sin crosses one’s lips in confession. But God breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron (Ps. 107:16) Since the confession of sin is made in the presence of another Christian, the last stronghold of self-justification is abandoned. The sinner surrenders, giving up all evil, giving the sinner’s heart to God and finding the forgiveness of all one’s sin in the community of Jesus Christ and other Christians. Sin that has been spoken and confessed has lost all of its power. It has been revealed and judged as sin. It can no longer tear apart the community.’
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
As many of us are opening our eyes to systemic inequality and generational sin of racism that has lead to the oppression of our brothers and sisters and neighbors of color, we are reminded that the way forward means confessing the ugliness of our past and our present. Over the next few weeks, take time to focus on your own pride and where light needs to expose your sin so that you may grow and move forward. This is not a practice in shame or penance. This is a practice in growth and healing. After you have had time to process, find a trusted friend who you could share with. It is not your friend’s job to forgive you for you sins, but to help expose sin so it cannot remain in darkness.