What good is prayer when we exclude confession?
Oh some practice litgurical confession, and others a more informal expression; some stuff their skeletons in their closets as far back as possible, and others of us… well… we confess everything right down to our shoes (small, lighthearted laugh).
However we engage in it, we need to confess that which divides us from You and from each other. We need to confess when we've hurt, offended, dehumanized, misunderstood, or violated. You sure don't make it easy, do You?
… we don't make it easy on ourselves.
Sometimes we are so positive that we are walking the right road, speaking the right talk and believing the right things that when someone dares approach us: "Ummm… pardon me? But what you just said really hurt".
God's Word is supreme! If you're offended, that is YOUR problem and not mine!
Surely not mine!
Oh… but it is mine.
God… it's mine.
No matter how pure my intent, that doesn't always make me right. Using Scripture doesn't make me more right either. In fact, it only brings You into the bitter middle of wars that need never have begun to start with.
So today I pray a prayer of confession:
As a body of believers, we have not always had the best view of human sexuality.
We have not addressed the issues of sexual abuse, activity, orientation, gender, prostitution/pornography, or trafficking well. We have not been a safe place — a sanctuary — for those in prostitution to flee to. In fact, we have often made ourselves a place of condemnation, violation, and judgment. We scrap over vague Bible verses, take our stand, & demand those in the sex trade thus believe FIRST and THEN be saved… accepted… welcomed.
Not always… not always. You know there are those places that have become Houses of Refuge for men, women and children. For these parts of our family, I thank you. May they be examples for us to follow.
Yet when we squabble, right or wrong in our stance (usually it's a fuzzy miasma of both), vulnerable people become angry and frightened. They flee us… they flee You… they flee from the very place that ought to be warmth, ought to be healing, ought to be love,…
ought to be
ought to be
ought to be
We are a fractious family, intent on having our voices heard and heeded at all costs far too often. In the cacophony of arguments, those who need to have their pleas heard are cast down, ignored and forgotten.
In our journey to understand Your creation of sexuality, we too often have blamed victims for their own rapes, their own prostitution, their own violations, their own exploitation. So eager are we to appoint self-indulged sin, we refuse to see outside evils beseiging victims on every side.
"If you hadn't dressed like that…"
"If you hadn't gone back to him…"
"If you confess your sins…"
"If you hadn't gone out at night…"
"If you hadn't had a drink…"
"If, if, if…"
God forgive us.
Forgive us when we've uttered blame, when we've spoken well-intetioned words that have hurt instead of helped, when we've spit in hate rather than embraced in love.
We may not all be professionals — psychologists, police officers, social workers, addiction workers, counselors or lawyers. We may not all know just what to say when she sits before us needing a place to stay.
But I ask that you would reconcile Your family together. Bond us with Your Spirit. Cast away the finger pointing, the accusations of "a watered-down faith" or "Bible-thumping". Cast away what is unimportant — that which we so often fixate on — and let us learn to be present.
For prostitution to end once and for all, we need to be present.
I confess I have not been such the person of safety all of the time. I confess Your body has not been such the people of safety all of the time. But we are Yours and we love You. We love our brothers and sisters living in exploitation right now.
Extend grace that interrupts our petty quarrels, open our ears to one another, and let us become…