Facebook Friends and “Secret Sins”
Yesterday, to ease my guilt and get a few laughs, I put up a confession on my Facebook page. It read, True confession: I threw away a bunch of Easter candy in the trash so I wouldn’t eat it. Then later I took it back out again and ate it. It was true. I actually did that. And you know what? I know that absolutely no one doubted me.
The really funny thing was how popular that post was. More than 85 likes in the first couple of hours, and more than 30 comments on top of that! And most of those comments were ones of hilarious solidarity.
What touched me in particular was who did the liking and the commenting. It was an incredibly diverse group—good friends, old friends, high school friends, Facebook friends I don’t actually know. People were coming out of the woodwork to join in and share their similar, laughable, “secret sins.”
I’ll also confess that I knew what I was doing when I posted that.
How many of you know Kristina Kuzmic, aka the Truth Bomb Mom? She’s become an internet sensation with her truth-telling, tell-it-like-it-really-is video confessionals. Go to any motivational conference (Christian or otherwise) and usually the keynote speaker will share an embarrassing story, disastrous decision, or awkward defining moment as their lead in. They want to get you laughing and at ease. But even more importantly, they want to draw you in and demonstrate that you and I are really no different than they are. Being disarmed like that makes us more open to hearing and receiving the message they’re about to bring.
You see, confession connects people. I’m convinced it’s one of the reasons why the popular proverb says it’s good for the soul.
Confessing our sins to God accomplishes several important things. One, it puts us in the correct posture—submissive before him. Second, our confession and repentance releases God’s forgiveness. Third, the forgiveness we receive sets us free from carrying the weight of what we’ve confessed. And fourth, it also restores right relationship between us and the Father.
Confession is meant to be relational.
The Bible tells us to confess our sins to God, but it also tells us to confess them to one another. Why is that?
Because when we confess, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We operate from that heart of flesh rather than the heart of stone. It kicks us right out of the judgement seat—how can we possibly judge others for their sins when we’re regularly admitting to (and confessing) our own?
It allows us the opportunity to see the brokenness in ourselves and in others, and to respond with compassion, empathy, and forgiveness.
It prompts us to hold one another accountable for our actions.
And it keeps us from being isolated, feeling alone.
That’s the beauty of AA and any other 12-step group. Support groups of any kind, really. They give you the chance to share your story, but maybe even more importantly, a chance to listen to the stories of others.
There is power in “me too.”
Power and healing to know someone else has been right where you are, thinking the same things, doing the same things. It may be as ridiculous as, “I’ve also eaten chocolate out of a garbage can” or as profound as, “I’ve had an abortion, too.”
“I’ve been raped.”
“I stole money and I feel so awful.”
“I’m so depressed that I have trouble making it through the day.”
I could go on and on listing examples, and every single one would resonate with somebody. Confession needs to happen in a safe space, wherever that might be. With a trusted person or group, or even anonymously. Sometimes the sheer volumes of “me toos” makes it a safe place. Sometimes people are just looking for an opportunity to put it out there and have it off their shoulders.
I’ve worked pretty hard at being a ‘safe space’ for people to be vulnerable. Some of that is a product of my own willingness to confess and be vulnerable, too (interesting how a regular practice of confession also helps make you a safe person.) I’ve had really wonderful, touching responses to my series about mental illness. Lots of “me toos,” and I don’t take those confessions lightly. There is honor and courage present in each voice raised.
And maybe, just maybe, one step in the direction of healing.
We can be that for one another. We can be vulnerable and put it out there. We can listen, receive, forgive, and confess.
It really is good for your soul.
Don’t carry the weight anymore. Reach out to God—he’s waiting for you. Find a safe person to talk to—they’re out there.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you ma