Name the Sin!

Hey there. I wanted to add one important note to follow up on my recent blog entry “Lie #2: I know I am not perfect, but I would NEVER do that.”

I think it is very important, while confessing our sin, to be SPECIFIC. What do I mean?

Generic confession examples:

  • “I am a sinner”
  • “I struggle with lust”
  • “I fell into temptation again”
  • “I definitely am not perfect”

Specific confession examples:

  • “I confess that I sinned yesterday when I gossiped to Susie about Sarah. I was trying to put Sarah down in order to make myself feel better about the fact that I did not get the promotion at work”
  • “I fell into temptation when I looked at pornography on my computer last night. I just feel so hopeless that I will ever be able to stop sinning in this way”
  • “I lied to my boss about working a full 8 hours yesterday. I actually left work early, yet recorded that I worked a full day”

When I reflect on my Christian faith, the women who have been the most influential in my spiritual growth were willing to get into the nitty gritty with me. They shared not only that they were sinners but their willingness to share their specific sins revealed their humility and made them approachable; their openness created an environment where I was encouraged to bring specific sins to the light through verbal confession, and once I spoke these specific sins out loud, I was able to receive specific encouragement. My Pastors often say that the “shame is in the details” and by naming my specific sins, I find that I am able to purge shame and receive complete forgiveness from my God. In contrast, if I remain generic in my confession, I still cling to shame and feel as if I have to hide my true self from others and from God. Additionally, verbalizing my sin with my Christian sisters allows my sisters to better hold me accountable in the future so that I do not give in to the same temptations. This regular practice of confessing specific sins, not only keeps me humble, but it has allowed me to encourage other women as they struggle with similar sins. Because my God has forgiven me for the nitty gritty, I can be free to share even the ugliest parts of myself with others, knowing that God already knew my sin and yet chose to send his son Jesus to die for me so that I can be His daughter! –

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

The authors of many books in the Bible provide us examples of this. Think of Paul, David, Moses, and Peter – their sins are very clearly described in the Bible. In the Lie #2 blog entry, I focused on Peter’s denial of Jesus after Jesus was arrested as accounted by Mark. With this in mind, I wanted to point out that the Gospel of Mark was very likely influenced greatly by Peter and yet Peter does not hold back on sharing all the nitty gritty, ugly details of his sin! In fact, Peter makes himself look pretty terrible throughout the entire book! BUT Peter felt free to share his sin because of the transforming love of Jesus. (Thanks Josh for teaching me about this!)

All that being said, I was not specific about my sins in my “Lie #2” post. While, as I have emphasized above, I think this is incredibly important, I do think it is wise to show discernment when sharing the specifics with others. For example, some sins directly affect other people (coworkers, spouse, children, parents) and therefore, it is often best to discuss with them what forums would be appropriate for confessing this particular sin. Also, if I share the specifics of my lustful thoughts to someone who is prone to lust, or if I confess specific gossip about Sarah to someone who doesn’t like Sarah, then am I doing any good? Or am I just creating a new temptation for my friend? Even in confession our sin can be a weapon for our enemy! Because of this danger, it is very important to lay a relational foundation of love, trust, and mutual dependence on Jesus before we confess. (“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Gal 6:1 ESV) I have had the opportunity to share my full testimony and all of the nitty gritty details with many women in more personal settings. Specifically, I have a couple of mentors that I am able to meet with on an individual basis, and I am a part of a “DNA group” through my church. “DNA” stands for Discipleship, Nurturing, and Accountability, and it is a small group of same-gender individuals who are there to support each other and point each other to Christ through prayer, encouragement, and accountability. DNA groups encourage healthy, regular confession of sin so that true healing can begin. If you would like to talk more specifics on any of these topics, please feel free to reach out to me.

My question for you now is do you have someone in your life who you can be vulnerable with? Who you can confess the ugliest details of your sin to and in turn, be encouraged by the Gospel? Do you have a mentor who can hold you accountable so that you do not fall back into this sin?

I think a great place to find a mentor like this, if you do not already have one, is the church. This is one of the many reasons why being plugged into the church is so important! (Be on the lookout for the next blog entry in this series titled “Lie #3: I am too busy/transient to get plugged in to a church right now.”)

In conclusion, while it may be easier at the time to speak of your sin in general terms, I really believe that true healing comes after you have walked through the painful and often awkward moments of confessing specific sins.  Brothers and sisters, we are FREE to confess the specifics of our sins because Jesus has REDEEMED US from all our sin! We are fully known and fully loved by God! Not even the darkest corners of our hearts cannot be transformed by the light of the Gospel.

Post by Brynn Gray

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