By PASTOR PAM
Special to the Index
‘The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.’ ~ Augustine of Hippo
Tommy sat down at the dinner table with his parents. Usually energetic, smiling, talking, asking questions, hungry, on this particular evening, Tommy was still and quiet. He was picking at his food with his fork. His dad notices and asked, “Son, you OK?” Tommy sighed and said, “Yeah.” Several minutes pass. Still looking at his plate, Tommy took a deep breath and said, “I did something bad today.” His dad waited before he said anything. Tommy continued, “On the playground at school, I told Sam he could not play with us because he was dumb.” Tommy looked up into his dad’s eyes and said, “Dad, I didn’t really mean it.” That night as Tommy’s dad tucked him into bed, Tommy asked, “Do you still love me? . . . Does God?” His dad replied, “Absolutely, son. Absolutely.”
That is how confession begins. It begins when we know in our heart of hearts we have said something or done something that might have hurt someone else, and we tell someone about it. Sometimes we learn about confession as a child, especially if we have a family member that listens carefully. More often though, we do not have anyone to teach us. As we mature, our experience teaches us to fear that the one we are telling will want to “fix” us or “tell us what to do.” We worry that the person we tell will judge us, or gossip, or choose not love us any more. Out of fear, shame or embarrassment, we tuck it away deep within. Consequently, most of us do not learn the value of confession until we are adults on a spiritual journey of healing and wholeness. By then, we have stacks and piles of regrets cluttering and taking up space in our soul.