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Stories from the journey of fatherhood & brotherhood

The Power of Confession

confession healing Jan 10, 2020

I remember growing up with I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” For me, confession came around our church’s once a month communion service. The pastor would talk about coming to the “table” with a clean slate and I would stumble through an internal prayer of confession, trying to hit the things I could remember from the previous few days. As a result, confession was not an important part of my spiritual journey and something I didn’t put a lot of thought into.

Today, we attend an Anglican Church and confession has a bigger role in the service. Every service there is a corporate confession on our knees. The language of the prayer is powerful and beautiful. “Almighty God and Father, we confess to you, to one another… that we have sinned, through our fault, in thought, and word, and deed, and in what we have left undone…” Despite the new church tradition, it wasn’t until this past summer that I really understood the power of confession and the impact of unconfessed sin in my life. On June 19th I had a supernatural experience that changed all of that.

First, I need to provide a little context. Since the Spring of 2014, I have had 4 jobs; my current job, one I left, one I was laid off from and one I was fired from. This led to search for new jobs and being out of work for a total of 10 months. As a result, I moved my family across the country twice, lived in 4 homes and struggled with significant depression. This all came to a head in the spring of 2018. I was hurting! I was angry at God, myself, old bosses and the world in general. My world was dark and through the divine intervention of our good God, I started seeing a counselor. I also ended up going on antidepressant medication after it became clear that I couldn’t get out of the hole on my own. 

In June of this year, my wife and I were having dinner with some of our closest friends. They had walked with me on our journey. During one part of the conversation I talked about some deep bitterness that I had towards God, some old bosses and our friend wondered if that bitterness was having an impact on my spiritual connection with God.

Two days later, I asked our pastor if I could go through the liturgy of confession with him. The Anglican Church talks about the importance of James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” I had taken awhile to get to this point. The liturgy of confession seemed weird to me when I first heard about it and on multiple occasions with both my pastor and my wife, I had strongly stated that I would never do it.

That Wednesday, June 19th, I met with my pastor and we talked for 90 minutes about where I was. Given my strong resistance in the past, he was a little surprised that I wanted to do this now. In the liturgy you kneel and confess your sins to God while the pastor prays for the Holy Spirit to work. In what can only be described as supernatural, I came into the experience with about 5 minutes of content and nearly 30 minutes later, I finished confessing. I confessed murder in my heart, moving my family across the country contrary to the will of God and many other specific things that came into my heart in a miraculous way. The impact was instant, resulting in freedom, restoration, healing and a literal lifting of a terrible burden. 

I am still on the journey which includes continue to meet with the counselor and taking the medication, but I am out of the desert and back to communion with our good and merciful heavenly father. I now understand what a beautiful gift confession is and encourage everyone to make a regular part of their spiritual journey.

 

Shae McCowen
Restoration Project Advocate 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

 

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