I continue this journey through the 12 steps and it challenges me.
This week I preached on 2 steps -
Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 6 Was entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
In my sermon I essentially made three points and told three stories.
The points were
1. We live in a world in need of forgiveness
2. Confession is good for the soul
3. We are called to be a community of forgiveness.
All of which is true and hard.
The hardest part of confession is first seeing within yourself what you need to confess and it is often not what it appears on the surface.
In fact, the surface stuff - like smoking and drinking and overeating - hardly need to be confessed since everyone can see it.
The hardest parts is facing the way our fears or our ego gets us into that place of taking control way to much (or trying anyway!) The hardest part is facing our immaturity that keeps us wanting what we want with no concern for others. The hardest part is facing our judgmental nature or our sloth or our self centeredness. As I write this I realize that there are a lot of hardest parts - no wonder we rarely do this confession thing.
When I went to the workshop by Richard Rohr he said that the #1 confession from Catholics to their priests - confessing that they missed mass. Nobody wants to go too deep, do they? Not me.
But I gave us all homework in our small group this week - that we would find a soul friend to whom we can confess one character defect or sin. Jesus said - "The truth shall make you free" and it is also true that the truth can be very hard to speak and to hear.
And so, I guess I should do it too - I will not be seeing Loretta (my spiritual director) soon - so I have to find a soul friend and then I have to confess.
Interestingly one of the questions for reflection yesterday was this: "Are there any character defects you have discovered that you enjoy and are not sure you want God to remove?"
Yeah, that is part of the problem.....
So, this morning I ruminate and wonder what God is going to reveal to me this week and who God will give me for confession. I only know that this process is one that over the years has led to changes within me - that have made be freer in many ways.
Richard Rohr writes: "Only mutual apology, healing and forgiveness offer a sustainable future for humanity."
There is hope for all of us - as we continue on this journey to freedom.