Confession – nebulous or nuanced?

By Dave Henning / July 19, 2023

“Just as a nebulous confession will result in a nebulous sense of forgiveness, a nuanced confession will result in a nuanced sense of forgiveness.  If you don’t get to the root issue, you’ll be confessing the same symptoms over and over again.”- Mark Batterson

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”- Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

“[Tears] are a language all their own.  They’re an expression of a soul that’s on the other side of words.”- Corey Russell, The Gift of Tears

Mark Batterson concludes Chapter 6 of Please Sorry Thanks with comments on Lamentations 3:23. First, Mark notes, hadas – the Hebrew word for ‘new’.  But hadas doesn’t just mean new as in ‘again and again’.  Certainly, that alone seems amazing!  Most significantly, hadas means new as in ‘different’ or ‘never experienced before’.

Hence, Pastor Batterson stresses, God’s mercy never crystallizes the same way twice – like snowflakes.  Thus, each act of mercy is unique.  Therefore, Mark explains:

“Mercy is tailored to your sin, your circumstances.  It fits like a glove!  But you have to be willing to share your measurements with the Tailor.  Grace is also a custom fit, but it’s distinct from mercy.  Mercy is not getting what you deserve.  Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.”

However, Pastor Batterson counsels, an insincere apology compounds the fracture in a relationship.  So, you must say what you mean and mean what you say.  Because, Mark underscores, it’s possible for a sincere sorry to move mountains of pain, shame, and regret.

In conclusion, the author posits, the key incidents in the Bible involve tears.  And those tears represent things ranging from repentance to regret to empathy.  As a result, tears = liquid empathy, liquid prayer.  Above all, nothing:

  • says sorry like tears!
  • reconciles relationships like tears.
  • moves the heart of God like tears.

Today’s question: Would you describe your confession as nuanced or nebulous?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Take offense = zero-sum game”

About the author

Dave Henning

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