James 5:16 says “confess your faults one to another”. The word “faults” is translated “a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness; a sin, misdeed”. In the previous blog post I shared thoughts on confessing to one another as Christ-followers… as Christ’s body…. as the church and being the church to one another in times of struggle, failure, and honest questioning.
As someone who highly values authenticity, honesty, and the safety for each of God’s masterpieces to be exactly who they were created to be without fear, I can’t speak about the importance of confession without being willing to take a first step forward myself.
The purpose is not to boast in my faults nor to cry out for pity. Neither are beneficial for my pursuit of Christ. The purpose is three-fold:
- to invite others who follow Christ to lovingly hold me accountable by asking “Hey… how’s that thing going?”
- to ask others to pray when they feel prompted
- to encourage others to comment, share, and/or confess when they feel safe – because we are, after all, every one human
And so I begin a series of blog posts that are simply… confessions.
This is my confession… When I get angry anymore, I lose control.
It has always taken a lot to make me angry enough to speak harshly. I have forever had a tendency to tighten my teeth and harden my eyes, yet hold my tongue because I am not a fan of conflict. Nor do I enjoy having to bear the weight of guilt that comes when speaking rashly and damaging someone else’s heart or psyche with my angry words. So I have typically endured criticism, disrespectful words, rudeness, arrogance, dishonesty, and even verbal abuse from some – often with angry tears running down my face – in silence.
Every now and then I would get just angry enough. My shoulders would start to tighten, my breathing would get quicker, I could feel it bubbling up, and then I would suddenly spew words of frustration, irritation, and aggravation like hot lava from a volcano. But it would take someone pushing my buttons for a long while before I got to this point. I was proud of that. Until lately…
In the last 3-4 years I have developed a very short fuse which is miniscule, at best, these days. I find myself walking through Walmart and getting angry at the “trifling lazy woman” who makes her 5-year old push the buggy and then smacks his head when he doesn’t walk as fast as she wants him to. I get angry at the “idiots who can’t drive”. I get angry at the “incompetent people” who attempt to solve my customer service issues. I get angry at the “lazy scraggly security people” that I don’t feel work quick enough at my daughter’s school. I get angry at my kids. I get angry at my husband. I get angry at God. And when I get angry, I lose control. I do the thing that I so do not want to do. I become rude. Harsh. Demanding. I speak hurtful words (I can see the hurt in their eyes). And I curse… worse than any sailor.
Then afterwards, I cry from the deep. I cry because I have caused someone else pain or humiliation or shame. I cry because I hate that person that I become. I cry from remorse for losing control. I cry because God cannot use an angry person. I cry because there is no-one that I can tell about my struggle with anger because they won’t understand if I am their leader… or they won’t want me to minister or speak… or they get uncomfortable with vulnerability… or they will no longer trust me as a mentor, minister, or friend. I cry because I know that I do not want to be an angry, bitter, hard-hearted person; yet I have not been able to come to a place of soul-rest again. I cry because I am guilty. I cry because I am ashamed. I cry because I am hurt. I cry because I am angry. At myself. For getting so angry.
And I ask God, again, to please help me get this thing… my heart… my emotions… my words… my reactions and responses right.
This is my confession. This is what I struggle with. But this is NOT who I want to, or will, be.
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. … 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your faults to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:13-16