Confession before Passion...

I was rereading the book of Nehemiah and was struck with the need for confession before proceeding with vision. I especially love how Nehemiah breaks down confession into three categories...sins of the faith community, sins of the forefathers, and the personal sins of commission and omission. I want to be this kind of leader...

Nehemiah 1:5-11

5 Then I said: "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

8 "Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.'

10 "They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man."
I was cupbearer to the king.

The bulk of modern Christianity is Passion without Confession.

A man's very highest moment is, I have no doubt at all, when he kneels in the dust, and beats his breast, and tells all the sins of his life. - Oscar Wilde

Before Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem he had to rebuild the walls that were in ruins around his own heart and the heart of God’s people.

Sins of the faith community---}Sins of your own family---}Sins of your own heart

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“I confess the sins we Israelites have committed against You.”

Indentificational Repentance, Communal Penance – Confessing Sins for the greater Community.

I’m sorry for…

  1. Our concern about salvation and not starvation.
  2. Our televangelists that confuse money with ministry.
  3. Our asinine marquee signs that make church seem dorky and irrelevant.
  4. Our smashmouth enforcement of Christianity during the Crusades.
  5. Our outwardly righteous church leaders who live with secret sins and heinous hypocrisy.
  6. Our angry and haughty militant fundamentalists who scream at passerbies with condemning signs of doom and damnation.
  7. Our Christian subculture that prides itself in condescendingly separating itself from society.
  8. Our tendency to be known for what we’re against more than what we are for.
  9. Our partiality and bigotry and dogmatism and exclusive elitism and history of hatred.
  10. Our careless and merciless attitude toward the disenfranchised and marginalized

This is a Journal Entry Apology to the World I wrote a few years back:

It seems to me that an apology is in order from the church to the world. A personal confession of sorts asking forgiveness for the verbal abuse we’ve dished out over the years. The draft might go a little something like this, “It seems contradictory that we are using words to apologize for words, but a letter is long overdue cataloging our disgraceful conduct as a band of people claiming to represent God. For a people so avid about following the “Word made flesh”, we have done a wonderful job of turning him back into words. You must know that it was never supposed to be this way. We were supposed to carry on the legacy of living out our values instead of crafting them into clever acrostics and cheesy marquee signs. We know better than to rely on words to convey the deepest mystery of the gospel. We have traded incarnation for information and you are paying the price for our deliberate disregard of Jesus teaching to love with action and truth. We have not visited the sick, taken in the stranger, fed the hungry, hugged the unlovely, adopted the orphan or provided for the poor. We cannot blame anyone but ourselves for this gross disfigurement of God’s face in this world. For all the damage we have caused with our empty words and lofty sermons, we humbly seek your forgiveness. Though this simple letter could never make up for the carnage we have caused, I hope that it at least demonstrates our deepest sorrow for not loving you enough to act on our beliefs. I hope that I can give you more than my word when I say that we will do our best to show our love with our life from this day forward. Again, I am sorry for the hurt we have caused since the departure of Jesus. He is not to blame for the mess we’ve made.”

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“I confess the sins of my father’s house…”

Generational Sin – Sin passed down from one generation to the next

InHeritage (Inherit) – you are carrying a heritage that was bequeathed, bestowed to you without your knowing it or asking for it for that matter.

Will you forgive us for the years of…

  1. Unfeeling Depression.
  2. Unprotected Innocence.
  3. Confusing Silence.
  4. Destructive Anger.
  5. Physical, Sexual and Verbal Abuse.
  6. Workaholic Neglect.
  7. Hidden Sexual Addiction.
  8. Spiritual Rebellion.
  9. Financial Irresponsibility.
  10. Missing Physical Affection.
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And then there is a deep need for personal confession, a time to innumerate the individual transgressions that ruined the reputation of Christ and the movement of Christianity at large.

“I confess my own sins…”

Will you forgive me for my…

  1. Arrogant Tunnel Vision
  2. Dirty Sexual Secrets.
  3. Unforgiving Heart.
  4. Materialistic Obsession.
  5. People-Pleasing Preoccupation.
  6. Infatuation with Outward Appearance.
  7. Inability to Apologize and ask for Forgiveness.
  8. Cowardly Lifestyle.
  9. Chronic Discontentment.
  10. Addiction to Busyness.
Lord, we repent. Lord, I repent.

Comments

Leslie said…
Thanks for sharing this, Jason. I enjoy reading your blog because they are commonly both inspiring and challenging.
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