Missed Opportunities: Confession and Repentance

Some of life’s missed opportunities can be traced to the meaning of words.  Not the dictionary definitions — the definitions we give to the words out of our experiences.

Confession and repentance are two such words.  For many they are the dirtiest words in the Christian vocabulary.  They refer to practices that are designed to make people feel badly about themselves, drive them back to church, fill them with guilt, and force them to need God.

Those are lies out of hell.

The goals of confession and repentance are not about any of those things.  They are about ground clearing.  They are about naming and removing the obstacles that keep God from getting to us and giving to us.

They are not about making it possible for God to love us.  They are about making it possible for us to see that God already does love us.

Why miss an opportunity like that?

About Frederick Schmidt

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and consulting editor at Church Publishing in New York. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as several books: A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009), and The Dave Test (Abingdon, 2013). He and his wife, Natalie (who is also an academic and an Episcopal priest), live in Highland Park, Illinois, with their Gordon Setter, Hilda of Whitby. They have four children and four grandchildren: Henry, Addie, Heidi, and Sophie.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X