Some more thoughts from Bonhoeffer

This quote on confession is from Life Together: The Classic exploration of Faith in Community

In confession occurs the breakthrough to the cross. The root of all sin is pride, supurbia. I want to be my own law, I have a right to myself, my hatred and my desires, my life, and my death. The mind and flesh of man are set on fire by pride; for it is in his wickedness that man wants to become God. Confession in the presence of a brother is the profoundest kind of humiliation. It hurts, it cuts a man down, it is a dreadful blow to pride. To stand there before a brother as a sinner is an ignominy that is almost unbearable. In the confession of concrete sins, the old man dies a painful, shameful death before the eyes of a brother. Because this humiliation is so hard, we often scheme to avoid confessing to a brother. Our eyes are so blinded that they no longer see the promise and the glory in such abasement.

[…] The cross of Jesus destroys all pride. We cannot find the Cross of Jesus if we shrink to go to the place where it is found, namely the public death of a sinner. And we refuse to bear the cross when we are ashamed to take onto ourselves the shameful death of a sinner in confession. In confession we break through to true fellowship of the Cross of Jesus Christ, in confession we affirm and accept our cross. In the deep mental and physical pain of humiliation before a brother- which means before God- we experience the cross of Jesus as our rescue and our salvation. The old man dies, but it is God who has conquered him. Now we share in the resurrection of Christ and eternal life.

One of the most profound points of Christianity is confession. In the earliest Christian communities, confession was practiced publicly. When someone committed a sin, he would stand up in from of the whole congregation and confess it. With the influx of inquirers and new Christians, the present practice prevailed, where a priest would stand in the place of the community, hear and forgive, through God that sin.

When we sin, especially the most private sin- like that of alcoholism, sexual addiction, pornography- it does not only affect our “relationship with Jesus” as some have taught. It affects the whole body. When one member of the Body the Church is sick, the whole body is sick. For this reason, the sacrament of confession is so important. It restores the sinner to the community, by causing the old self of that person to be humiliated before the Cross of Christ, and raises that sinner back up as when he/she was raised back up to life in his/her baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

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