Thursday, February 14, 2008

Naked Confessions

The Anchoress wrote a provocative piece explaining mankind's nakedness before God. It is a must-read piece. I would like to explore the yin to her yang. Where she urges us to open up and reveal ourselves fully and completely to God, it is interesting to consider how hiding hurts us.

Few people exist on this planet, who've lived any length of time, who don't know regret and shame. We've all done things that horrify us in retrospect. We violate our own code so completely that we shrivel up some, contract within ourselves and hide. We die a little, or sometimes a lot.

Underlying this dying is the notion that some sins are unforgivable. We believe we are unredeemable. For some things, there is no forgiveness. This belief separates us. We might not overtly lie, but we might not tell the whole truth either. This compounds the isolation.

This is why confession is so powerful. The act of expelling the darkness makes room for the light. James 5:16 says, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." (NASV) The confession heals us body and soul.

Which leads to another idea: Every man desires to be unconditionally loved, to be loved for who and what he is, faults and all. By withholding and hiding, men deprive themselves of the connection with their fellow man that they so seek. Revealing ourselves, as the Anchoress points out, makes us vulnerable, humbled. And yet, the only way to have full communion is to cast off all self-imposed chains, bring the self low and ironically, be free at last.

Being soul-naked is the only way to fully avail oneself of love. Physical nakedness is merely a metaphor--and how many people are happy with their naked selves? Note that James says confess that we may be healed. Holding on to shame causes dis-ease. We are eaten from within.

Many illnesses can be traced to spiritual roots: migraine headaches where a person struggles to not think, chronic sinusitis where a person holds onto unshed tears, ulcers where a person's insecurity eats away at the self, low back pain where a person feels unsupported, pneumonia where a person chokes on grief, gallstones where a person clings to resentment, and on and on.

Heart-felt confession, loving-kindness and prayer would put a lot of doctors out of business. Unspoken shame does more to destroy health than a diet of Big Macs. Too many people put a band-aid on their souls--eat better, exercise--and ignore the corrosive affect their spiritual and emotional suffering has.

Getting naked goes a long way to heal. The path to healing includes the heart and mind. In fact, it begins there.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well put, Melissa. I've found that sharing my secrets and shame takes most of the power out of them. It also opens the door for others to share, and healing works well when done with those who can intimately understand. Thank you for sharing your insights. - HKH

Viola Jaynes said...

This is an excellent, excellent post. I miss it when you don't write like this more often. Thank you for doing so today.

Sharon said...

Thanks for the insightful post...enjoyed reading it! :)

Gina Cobb said...

Good stuff. Worth reading and re-reading. I enjoyed several of your posts today. You are on a roll!

sandy said...

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