Training for Reigning - 39 - Confessing our Faults

FOR MANY OF us it is hard-uncomfortably awkward-to have to tell someone that we were wrong in something we said, or did. Indeed, some young people pass through a stage in which they pride themselves in a determination never to apologize to any one! Such "weakness," they feel, is unworthy of them. It endangers their self-respect, causing them, as the Chinese say, "to lose face." Yet, if we are going to enjoy our relationship to the Living God, we simply must maintain cleared consciences. And one of the darkest clouds that can come between us and our Heavenly Father is built up by the inner knowledge that things have been done, or said, to others that ought to have been confessed to them, and put right-but weren’t. For let us not forget, that while 1 John 1:9 deals with confession to God, James 5:16 with Matt. 5:23-24 command confession of faults one to another
-for our own sakes, as well as for theirs.
Andy, (as I shall call him), saved early in life, was an "exercised" young man who had learned a little of the importance of prayer. In time his prayer-list grew so long that he decided to devote a set period of an hour, or more, each day to the presentation before the Lord of the needs of those for whom he was burdened. For a short time all went happily. But, starting each prayer-session with necessary confession, there began to come to his mind things long forgotten-words said to his stepmother, unseemly things done with boyhood companions, and, worse than all, those gin gersnaps.
It was quite useless, he found, to try to by-pass these matters. Confession of them in detail to the Lord did not clear his conscience. Every time he tried to pray they rose up as a cloud, filling his mind with confusion. At length, after a fierce struggle with his pride, he began the humiliating process of hunting up all those whom he had offended, of making confession to them, and of being forgiven. In most instances they had forgotten about the incidents. But the Holy Spirit had not forgotten that He had been grieved. And Andy’s conscience had to be cleared if he were to be acceptable in his priestly intercession.
It was a sorry process; for as soon as one lot of misdeeds had been attended to, another batch rose to memory’s surface, each one demanding a confession, until only one remained - those gin gersnapsl
One of school-boy Andy’s duties had been to go to a grocery store for the family supplies. And in that store, set out on the floor there used to be a large, uncovered barrel of hot little ginger- snaps. They rarely were seen in Andy’s home-and the boy "just loved them"! It was common for a customer to help himself to a couple of the cheap little cakes while the grocer filled his order. So the lad began to follow their example. No one said anything to him. So, as his boldness grew, he casually took a few more from time to time, and often left the store with a half dozen in his pockets.
Now that had happened years and years before Andy’s intercessions had begun. He had completely forgotten about these indulgences. But now, every time he sought the Lord’s presence, the whole record came surging back to hinder his praying. Laying it out before the Lord brought no relief. At last he wrote away for the old grocer’s addres, and, feeling like a whipped cur, he sent him a detailed confession, plus money to pay for the stolen cakes. He was certain the man would despise him utterly, for he had known that the lad professed to be saved. However, in due time, a most gracious reply came from him, expressing admiration for the young man’s courage and assuring him that his Christianity had never been doubted; but now that this confession had been received, he, the grocer, felt a still greater measure of respect for him as a Christian. Thus it seemed that the Lord had turned even this belated righting of matters into a testimony to Himself.
Of course it will be easy to argue one’s self into the belief that such "little" things are too trifling to bother with. Yet please observe, as I have said, that the Holy Spirit had not forgotten that he had been grieved. He was not ready to pass off these matters as long-forgotten trivialities, better off if kept buried. Notice, also, that the humiliating conscience-clearing WAS THE
a stern fact that cannot be laughed off!
And here let me rest my case. For be assured of this, my young companions in Christ, we can work like slaves in His service, and be most faithful in our assembly duties. And we can pray, earnestly, for many things. But it all will be as empty as the wind unless our souls are in communion-contact with our God.
From time to time, also, there is much concern about our powerlessness in testimony. Could it be possible that one cause of it is an unrecognized, yet broken, communion with the Source of Power because we are accustomed to think so lightly of the command to confess our faults one to another? . . . What do you think?