February 21, 2016
A journey in self-examination and confession…
I’ve spent the last three months reading, praying and practicing the disciplines of self-examination and confession. Not exactly the practice of confession with wooden boxes and sliding doors, though they have the same origins. Conversations with others about these practices have led all over the place. Some have asked for book and teaching recommendations, others have fallen just short of directly condemning me. Those were fun…
That which is unknown is feared. That which is misunderstood is at best, disregarded, at worst condemned. The result is separation, isolation and rejection.
In a healthy relationship, these things are given space to grow over time. There’s always something to learn from a friend, a time when we fall into a place of deep need, or they do. A healthy marriage is never complete, each one has a history of life and experience that comes to the union and has a bearing on every moment of every day. New things are learned, more is shared, deeper bonds grow and the foundation is strengthened. Communication is key. Trust grows. Vulnerabilities are shared, not shielded.
The same is true with the soul. Consider these words from David G. Benner in “The Gift of Being Yourself – The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery.”
“Coming to know and trust God’s love is a lifelong process. Making this knowledge the foundation of our identity—or better, allowing our identity to be re-formed around this most basic fact of our existence—will also never happen instantly. Both lie at the core of the spiritual transformation that is the intended outcome of Christ-following.
“Ever time I dare to meet God in the vulnerability of my sin and shame, this knowing is strengthened. Every time I fall back into a self-improvement mode and tro to bring God my best self, it is weakened. I only know Divine unconditional, radical and reckless love for me when I dare to approach God just as I am.”
Just as I am. No masks. No faces. No false selves. No fakes. That’s the heart of self-examination and confession.
Only in weakness can we truly find grace.