Teaching an Adult the Art of Confession

Teaching an adult about confession is like teaching a lil tween about their naked body. It’s embarrassing and they assume they are too old to be taught this kind of thing. But they are curious and naive, if they can get over their ego.

They know next to nothing about their own skin because they’ve been too ashamed to look. It’s weird to examine the unfamiliar parts of yourself in the light of day. You run from it a little. It’s important that you encourage them to push through this awkwardness because their bodies and their deeds and desires are normal and they need to feel comfortable with this before another person can. Learning to confess is a lesson in understanding that you are an animal. Your body, the dark and twisty places in your mind and your failures of faith should not be viewed with a clinical lens because you are not a clinical being.You were born in the earth, not a lab. Imperfection is your benchmark.

Once you’ve gotten them a grip on the anxiety of dealing with the thing they are trying to confess, the confession will come naturally. A natural act in deciding to stop running away is to seek allies.

You should tell them about people who fail. Icarus and his wax wings, the first thousand people who thought you could create a device that could fly, when Adam and Eve tasted that fruit. Probably most people fail at most things and the strength to try again is admirable. 

Try not to give them advice. Listen, ask questions, and repeat things back to them. They will eventually stumble upon their own advice because confession is cathartic and all that cleansing opens up room inside for perspective. Sit with them as long as they need. Whatever you do, don’t make them feel alone. 

Above all, let them know confession is an exercise in strength. It’s okay to take a nap afterward.

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