I have always been curious as to why some individuals feel a need to confuse their secret shame and private feelings of guilt. Why make private shame and guilt a public matter? The following reasons come to mind.
Some people feel a need to confess because they know they are not how they are viewed by others. In her memoirs, Mary Tyler Moore felt the need to tell people she was not the charming and perfect wife portrayed by Laura Petrie on the Dick Van Dyke Show (1961 – 1966). She was in fact a recovering alcoholic. (After All, 1996)
Some people feel a need to confess their secret life in order to make money. Sex sells. People are curious about a wreck, whether it is a car wreck, a train wreck, or a life in ruin. Individuals who are willing to exploit the evil they have done can cash in.
Some people feel a need to confess shameful private behavior in an honest attempt to connect with others and perhaps help in some way. The Duck Dynasty Family has no end of confessional books on the market as one family member after another has felt the need to tell people the depths of human depravity they have engaged in. Uncle Si offers one example. (Si-cology: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle, 2013)
Some people feel a need to confess shameful behavior so that they do not have to change. The idea is that if they tell others how badly they behave, they can continue being “who they are.” In fact, that which is vile can be declared to be virtuous. Homosexuals once stayed in the “closet”. Today, there is a Gay Pride Day. The most depraved behavior is openly confessed, and celebrated, so that no change is necessary. Because there is no change, for many, depravity turns into delusional beliefs as when individuals think they are actually married to another person of like perversion. The moral madness continues confessed, but unabated.
Some people feel a need to confess the dark side of the soul in order to be fundamentally and forever different. Jesus spoke to these people when He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) When a person becomes sick and tired, of being sick with sin and tired of moral failure, there is a balm in Gilead, there is hope. The blood of Christ can wash away all sin as the grace of God is received in the form of Divine forgiveness.
In truth, for a sensitive soul touched by the grace of God, there is nothing that so takes the joy out of life like unconfessed sin on the conscience. “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long” (Psa. 32:3). Confession can be good for the soul.
When a person comes to Jesus for salvation, when the burdens of sin are lifted at Calvary, when the dark side of the soul is forsaken, a person is free to love God, enjoy life, and live with an undefiled conscience.
That is a life worth living. Confessing shameful behavior is something that every person should consider. “God removes the sin of the one who makes humble confession, and thereby the devil loses the sovereignty he had gained over the human heart.” (Saint Bernard)