A big issue for me stands with the false belief that confession of sins compromises the whole act of contrition (“humble regret”). To illustrate this I refer to AA (“Alcoholics Anonymous”). One of the steps toward healing and overcoming speaks of restoration (if possible) to all those who the drinker hurt while booze reigned as boss. I support this teaching and exercise.

Plainly put, if you steal all my money, ruin my career, rip affection from my life, abuse my children, shame me in front of my family and community, and then you come and say, “Sorry” I will doubt your sincerity. Prove it to me. I think a paraphrase of James is legitimate here to reinforce the importance of this point.

“Show me your “regret” apart from the good things you do. I will show you my “regret” by the good things I do. You fool! Do you have to be shown that “regret” which does nothing is useless?” (James 2:18, 20 God’s Word).

But all this does not paint the whole picture.

Some people can’t (or won’t) carry their regret to completion. These people flagellate (an old ritual in which the person literally used whips to injure themselves to demonstrate spirit over flesh) themselves. You know the symptoms. The person keeps their house so cold in winter that even with a sweater they shiver. They eat such plain food in such a monotonous diet that they actually lose their appetite in a forced fast. They work themselves until they ache, and then do some more, but make out they live as some kind of hero for torturing themselves. They isolate themselves from joyful company and blame it on others for not being friendly (but you know others make serious attempts to build a friendship). You get the idea.

It would make more sense, physically and spiritually to confess their sin (more often than not a sexual sin), repent and live free. But then they would have to accept that God’s kindness (or grace) is actually greater than sin.

Even this leaves something out.

Some people do confess their sin in a specific way. Then they live as though God can’t (or won’t) forgive their sins. Jesus can wash others clean, but “my sins are so much bigger than anyone else has ever committed” that God, even holding the divine nose (so to speak) can’t remove the stench.

These people live with an inferiority complex, and holding on to the belief that they sinned bigger than anyone else gives them a sense of worth and achievement, as distorted as that sounds when you write it or say it.

So, just stop being so human. Start being more like a servant of Jesus.

Live free of your opinion of sin. Live fully in the love of Jesus who loves you. The cross was not a fake love! Jesus’ cleansing blood is not fake!

Confess. Fix. Accept. Serve. Love (yourself as your neighbour Leviticus 19:18b).

Now would be a good time.