Chapter two of "Our Authentic Selves,
Reflections on What WE believe and what we wish we believed.
by David Hampton
by David Hampton
"What is standing between us and experiencing the freedom of confession? What in our current belief system would need to shift in order to experience this kind of a culture of grace?
I have areas of shame. Deep horrible shame. As a matter of fact when I read this next chapter and saw the question, the bite of that shame caused me to almost back out of my deal with you readers to go through this chapter . I have confessed my sin to God. I have also confessed to three people my burdensome shame. I know God has forgiven me...but honestly I do not have enough faith in you, God's people, to trust that you would understand, forgive and take joy in my confession. Rather, I believe people will be shocked and stunned ...Appalled. Horrified. I don't know how the Judgment Seat of God works....He casts our sin as far as the East is from the West. He buries it in the depths of the deepest sea. I want to know....does this happen the moment we've confessed our sin to God or is there some kind of public confession in the courtrooms of Heaven.? Scripture says there will be no secrets...that what is hidden will be made known.
I don't know....and that makes me a little afraid of Heaven. I guess my faith in the loving heart of God must rest in the knowledge that however it plays out, IT WILL BE ALL RIGHT. God will not shame us. I think rather he says something like, "Here let me take that burden from you....don't you know you've been forgiven already? We have no use for guilt here." And away that burden gets rolled right off my shoulders and it is cast away....And no one thinks of it ever again.
And no one will point fingers ...no one will be shocked by my sin....No one will be appalled because they've got burdens as big as mine. I think the predominant emotion in those courtrooms will be relief and deeply abiding JOY. And the best way to prepare for that day of reckoning, is to practice our trust and to bathe our hearts with the abiding nature of the Love of God for us. And God knows I hate my old sin. He knows I've paid for it a thousand times over in the shamed secret places of my heart. God wants to take that sin and be rid of it once and for all time.
I will answer this day's question. I will not run from you or from the areas of my heart that this question reveals. I am guilty. And I have been made guiltless.
What is standing in the way of me and the freedom of confession? Well I already confessed this sin, as I've said. Is it necessary that I tell every person I encounter of my sin? I don't think so. I just think it should suffice to say that no one's sin should ever shock me because I've already committed and been freed from the guilt of unspeakable sin.
What would have to change to make me experience this kind of a culture of grace? I guess it would have to be if there was an area of open confession amongst a family of faith and I was able to see that others have done things as bad as I have done ....And to know that Jesus died for unspeakable sin. He died for MY unspeakable sin. and for YOUR unspeakable sin....And he took all the shame of those sins and bore them in his blood and pain on the cross. He said about your and my sin "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." And he took that sin and with a final cry called out "IT IS FINISHED"
All that is gone. It was an atonement of blood. He purchased my life with his blood. And he died in horrible shame. Unspeakable shame.
"Grace, grace, God's Grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within...Grace, Grace, God's Grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin."