Confession: The Gift We’ve Abandoned

“Few things accelerate the peace process as much as humbly admitting our own wrongdoing and asking forgiveness.”
– Lee Strobel


In a world where disagreeable ditches outnumber beneficent bridges, confession is our only hope.

Without confession, we are lost in a fog of angry bewilderment. Why am I so messed up? Why don’t people act the way I want them to? Why is God so distant?

But today we fight for our lives in a “no regrets” cultural arena, where only the weak admit error, only the cowardly apologize, and irrational certainty  has replaced gentle humility in the face of the frightening unknown.

Families, communities, nations crumble around us. But we, individually and collectively, would rather die (or pay exorbitant legal fees) than to squeeze out the words, “It’s all my fault, it’s my wrong decisions, my selfish, thoughtless bent that contributed to or caused this mess. Please forgive me and allow me to make it right.”

Confession is no picnic. By admitting our complicity with all the ugly and un-right, we voluntarily stand naked before a critical crowd. How do we find the courage to confess?

First, we stop pretending.

A still-wet oil painting rests on an easel in my kitchen. As I chop vegetables, or unload the dishes, the canvas “talks” to me, mentioning too-hard edges, confusing brush strokes, or muddied color.  My embarrassing mistakes transform into helpful reminders as I tackle the next fresh surface. The desire to create better, more beautiful art turns out to be more important than pretending I already have.

In the same way, the practice of confession increases my desire to lead a better, more beautiful life, instead of pretending I already am.

Confession: A Daily Inventory

So, I attempt to inventory each day before the God who made me, loves me and sees me as I am. The steps are simple: What am I grateful for? How was I unloving today in my attitudes and actions? Forgive me, help me make it right with those I’ve harmed, and grant me your grace and wisdom for the new day.

Imagine if confession were a collective practice, if heartfelt gratitude, contrition, and hope dominated our gatherings?

What if, like God, we handed each other a daily blank canvas, trusting God to paint something new?

From the Book of Common Prayer

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name.


Why not make a habit of daily confession? You’ll find it to be good for the soul.

Have you experienced the restorative gift of confession?



6 thoughts on “Confession: The Gift We’ve Abandoned

  1. Sheila

    Again your words are timeless and yet so timely. Much to reflect on as I have been reflecting on this for awhile. Confession though difficult in a prideful way is so easy if we are humble, which in turn actually fills us with God’s strength and power. Ah, if ‘I’ can just get out of the way. Thank you for these wise words.

    1. Janet Hanson Post author

      You’re welcome, Sheila. It is all so counterintuitive, as Jesus promised it would be. Humility brings power. Confession ends shame. I’m grateful you are on this journey!

  2. Chaplain Sue Howton

    I just love your devotionals! They come less often, and I never know when, but they are a gift and I’m grateful! Thank you and God Bless!


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