There’s No Healing In The Hidden

On March 28th, Pope Francis was at St Peter’s Basilica with 61 other priests – who had all gathered to hear confessions. When being directed to the confessional reserved for the Pope to hear confessions, he made a surprise move…

Pope Francis walked over to another confessional that already had a priest in it, and began confessing his own sins.

James 5.16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

I believe there is a healing that comes through confession.

Recently, I was listening to a program that highlighted the importance of confession. Interestingly, it wasn’t a Christian program at all – but they kept referencing the Catholic practice of confession.

The word they used repeatedly was: “reset”

They talked about how confessing allows you to move forward with a clean slate – as if the reset button has been hit.

Jimmy Kimmel has done this funny bit a few times called “Lie Detective,” where they hook up a kid to a bogus lie detector test and ask them funny questions…

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“Do you like school? Have you ever peed in the swimming pool? Does your mom ever do dumb things?”

It’s hilarious when the buzzer & lights go off – and the poor kid has to admit what he really didn’t want to.

I think we all have stuff we don’t want to admit. Stuff we want to hide, cover, sweep under the rug…

But there’s no healing in the hidden.

Let me say that again – there’s no healing in the hidden.

Our friends April & Micahn Carter like to say, “If you will reveal it, God can heal it.”

About 27 years ago, an 18 month old girl named Jessica McClure fell into an abandoned pipe well in Midland, Texas.

It was one of those media circus things with 24 hour news coverage…

The story was compelling.

What followed was 58 hours of rescue efforts.

At one point, a critical decision was made. Rescuers decided that the rescue should have 2 phases – phase 1 was to simply get someone down there, next to her, as soon as possible. Phase 2 was to actually extract her from the well.

Phase 1 was driven by the knowledge that people tend to do and think strange things when they are trapped alone in a dark scary place for long periods of time. They get disoriented and their fears get blown out of proportion. Their minds play tricks on them. Sometimes they start doing self-destructive things. Sometimes, they just give up.

So rescue experts decided they needed to get a person down there to be with her as soon as possible. Then they could turn their attention on how they were going to get her out of the well.

The plan worked, and eventually, Jessica was rescued.

This story is an excellent reminder of our need for one another. We often find ourselves all alone in a deep and dark place – struggling with hurts, habits, and hang-ups. In that place, our minds play tricks on us. We’re tempted to do self-destructive things. Sometimes, we are even tempted to just give up.

It’s lonely and scary.

And in that place, we need one another.

We don’t need a media circus, but we need someone to sit with us and listen…

Someone who, without judgment, will hear our struggles and fears and pain and questions – not to solve them, but to listen so that we are heard; to be with us so that we are not alone.

Real healing and recovery doesn’t happen alone.

It happens in community – and through confession.

No more hiding. No more covering. No faking and fronting.

It’s time to reveal, so that God can heal. Because there’s no healing in the hidden.

It’s in the very act of confession (owning up to what’s really going on, what we’re struggling with right here and now) that healing begins in our lives.

I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

11 Comments to There’s No Healing In The Hidden

  1. Could you post this once a week for a year? I love it. So real and true. It gets at the heart of things. Thanks Brian.

  2. Someone recently said to me that they thought the new Pope was “groovy.” (That word took me back to the 60s!!) I think one part of that meant he does not stand on ceremony and behaves like a regular human being. No special treatment. People can relate to that.

    You are so right about getting stuck in a dark place. It is really hard to make good decisions there. In my own experience of confessing mistakes, I try to catch myself in the act and make amends right then and there. Minimal drama, minimal audience, lots of light by which to eat the humble pie I so deserve. Apologize to the person or people wronged, supplemented by hugs if appropriate, and move on. Higher ground is a few steps away.

  3. 1 John 1:8-9
    I believe we need to confess our sins, however will you find someone who does not judge or thing negatively about you or me? We by nature are fallen and still sin. We are under construction and sin is losing it’s power slowly until we are made perfect.

    As far as the Pope is concerned we need to be careful not to prop up catholicism. They preach another gospel.

  4. David touches on a point I’ve been pondering. Confession should be paired with wisdom – for some, it’s helpful to choose one or two confidants, especially if feeling fragile. By the way Brian, I really liked that post on Catholicism – Merton and O’Connor are two of my fave authors. So many excellent posts to that blog – still reading!

      • We need to defend the faith. Paul commended the bareans for testing what he was preaching. We need to test everything by the word of God. Catholics believe salvation by works which is contrary to scripture. By that bases alone it is a different gospel. There is more but you get the picture. The word of God is useful for correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness.

        • A few years ago, a man in my church accused me of “preaching another gospel.’ This was a first for me – sure, I’ve had people disagree with some of the less essential parts of my theology and teaching before – but this was the first time someone threw the blanket of “false teacher” on me. I gotta be honest, it stung. I was surprised, confused, hurt, and a little worried.
          I went to my elders and mentors – and I asked them: am I teaching another gospel? Am I a false teacher? Do you have concerns that I have veered off course? They all said the same thing: no, you are preaching the Gospel. This guy has an agenda and he needs to go.
          The man’s agenda was this: he wanted end-times prophecies taught all the time. He was convinced that a catastrophic earthquake would hit the Northwest in a few months – and people were not ready (that earthquake didn’t happen, obviously).
          I’m sharing all this because I’m sensitive whenever I hear the “another gospel” label being given. I’ve been accused of this – and I didn’t, and still don’t believe I deserved it. It’s a sweeping discrediting of an individual or organization.
          Within Christianity, there is much to be embarrassed by in my opinion. And there is also much to be hopeful and excited about. While there are crazies out there – like the Westboro Baptist gang of protesters – there are some wonderfully redemptive and beautiful works happening all around the world.
          Are there Catholics who live, teach, and believe “salvation by works?” I’m sure there are (I don’t know any personally). Are there protestants who live, teach, and believe “salvation by works?” Absolutely (and I know some personally). I grew up in the Pentecostal-holiness movement – so I am quite familiar with the works-mentality.
          Are there Catholics who believe in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph 2.8-9)? Um, yes! I know this to be true – because I know them. I am friends with them (including Father Ed, the priest at the Catholic church directly across the street from my charismatic church).
          I cannot make sweeping judgments about the authenticity or accuracy of 1.2 billion Catholic’s faith. But I do know individuals who are Catholic and very much love Jesus and are saved by grace through faith.
          I appreciate your concern, David, for testing everything, and taking it to the Word of God. Thanks for reading, and for participating in this post.

          • I thank you for your comment. Personally my heart for the church is to defend the gospel. I have no agenda but to know Christ. However, if you look at the history of the catholic church writing you will find what their dogma truly is. Having said that, I believe we need to test everything. My people perish for lack of wisdom say the Lord. There are to many churches who preach property gospel and other gospels and it pains me that people are going to hell with the road paved with good intentions.

            I hope you see my heart in this. My love is for Jesus Christ and his church.

            My God continue to bless you and your ministry. Shalom.

          • Maybe this reveals my ignorance – but when you said the Catholic church teaches salvation by works – I had never heard that before. I’ve heard plenty of issues raised with Catholic teaching and practice – but never this one. I had to look it up. (by the way, I have issue with some Catholic teachings too – one of the biggest issues for me is women being kept from the priesthood and the requirement of celibacy for the priesthood).
            I found this interesting – an official Catholic response to the question “Why does the Catholic church teach salvation by works?”
            http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/why-does-the-church-teach-that-works-can-obtain-salvation
            A brief quote from it:
            The Catholic Church has never taught such a doctrine and, in fact, has constantly condemned the notion that men can earn or merit salvation. Catholic soteriology (salvation theology) is rooted in apostolic Tradition and Scripture and says that it is only by God’s grace–completely unmerited by works–that one is saved.
            The Church teaches that it’s God’s grace from beginning to end which justifies, sanctifies, and saves us. As Paul explains in Philippians 2:13, “God is the one, who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.”
            David – I’m curious… what group/denomination/branch of Christianity would you describe as teaching The Gospel?

      • Read the protest ant post and the responses. Got a lot of preachers out there in blogland! I want to be on the right bus – the one that’s traveling through the 21st century – with a bunch of believers who are trying to live the Gospel in their actual lives. Every day.

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