On Derek Webb’s “House Show” album (Kudos to Sue Hong Saddington for sharing it with me years ago), I first heard Derek Webb talking about how we would all be better off if our deepest and darkest sin would show up on the 5 o’clock news. His rationale was that then we wouldn’t need to hide, we could walk around with a clear picture of who we are instead of refusing to acknowledge that most of what we do is cover up and package ourselves so nicely, as though nothing were wrong with us, that our outer beauty could make up for what is going on inside and behind closed doors.
Recently, at a youth praise night, I had a chance to speak on the subject of confession, and instead of merely speaking on it, I asked the youth pastors and leaders to confess with me something that they personally wrestled with, to embody confession. The worst thing that can happen for us as Asian American Christians is to somehow present ourselves as “holier than thou” when in fact, our sinfulness is acknowledged and embedded in our very faith. We therefore do not approach church and worship to appear holy, but as a response to our dirtiness. That night, we took the risk and dark and ugly confessions were made. Each youth pastor stepped forward and spoke the unspeakable…and we responded by applause and embrace. Then, much to my surprise, many youth themselves came out to confess their sins, anger, pride, smoking, pornography, suicidal thoughts, drugs, and self-hate. We cheered and sang worship songs in response. It made a lot more sense that way, those lyrics came alive after that discomfort, that ugliness.
But now weeks later, the thought of continuing that type of openness and vulnerability has returned to the status of daunting. Obviously, confession isn’t for show, but it’s a fascinatingly terrifying and tantalizing thought isn’t it, your worst sin on display?
Steven, whoever you are, you may have been ‘outed’ by your wife, but you are now, if but for the moment, to live free from the lie. You are free to seek a savior whom you and I clearly need.