Sunday, October 23, 2016

Year C, Proper 26, Psalm 32.5&6, Rigorous Honesty.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and did not conceal my guilt.
I said," I will confess my transgressions to the Lord."
Then you forgave me the guilt of my sin.
(Psalm 32:5&6)

It was the most terrifying confession I've ever had to make.

I was in the Chemical Dependency Unit of Kootenai Medical Center.  I initially agreed to enter the hospital because of the depression I'd been experiencing.  But while there, my doctor confronted me about my drinking.  "You are an alcoholic."  "You almost died."  I'm not sure which statement was harder to hear.  But together they had an impact, to say the least.

And so I entered the 21 day treatment program.  And during the course of that program there was the "Family Day".  I my case, that involved sitting down across from my wife, with a counselor moderating the conversation, and with the rest of the class looking on.  Both Karla and I had to prepare answers to a list of questions about my drinking.  Rigorous  honesty was required.

Everything that I'd hidden had to be exposed.  "When you would go away for a weekend, I would buy an extra bottle of Scotch to refill the one you knew about so that you didn't know how much I drank. . ."  And on the answers went.  One by one.

Shame.  Guilt.

And yet as those transgressions hit the light of day, one after another, the shame and guilt melted away.  

In the end, absolution came in a hug.  Freedom from all that shame and guilt as well.

Confession does that.  It sets us free.  It restores our life.  And with it comes reconciliation for that which divides us has lost its power, a power that is wrapped in the secrecy.  

"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed."

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