Con·fes·sion – kənˈfeSHən/
- a formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime or a wrong
- an admission or acknowledgment that one has done something that one is ashamed or embarrassed about.
My son and one of his friends are fighting. They are five years old. So, I gathered enough to know they were fighting over a Hot Wheels toy car. So I decide to step into the middle of their fight and break things up. As soon as I ask what is going on, each kid points to the other, and they say almost at the same time, ‘He started it!’ It’s part of our human nature to blame somebody else for our problems. Blaming others for our problems is a natural response, but it is also an immature response. Keep in mind our natural responses are usually pretty childish. We have to learn mature behavior. However, the immature response of blaming others doesn’t always look childish.
Look at the latest bank scandal, or even in the sports arena. Sophisticated adults use all sorts of tricks to shift the blame. When a business fails, managers blame employees, employees blame managers, and everybody blames the executives. Executives blame political climate. Coaches blame players. Players blame coaches, and it goes on and on. It never ceases to amaze me how often certain people can glide from one failed venture to the next, without assuming any of the blame or confessing and admitting to what they did wrong to contribute to the failure. A new job, a new marriage, a company where they left their trusted employees high and dry when things got tough. Even when politicians and religious leaders fall, they blame conspiracy theories or political enemies.
Some forms of counseling encourage us to blame our parents for the state we’re in. Most recently, you see in our American culture that it’s entirely typical to blame the opposite political party and demonize the opposition. Other forms of self-analysis teach us to blame our education or our lack of education, our religion or our lack of religion. Almost anything can be used as a root reason for our problems instead of ourselves.
Many of our problems do have roots in all these areas, but healing doesn’t come through attaching blame elsewhere. Real healing comes through owning the problem. It originates from a confession. Self-help programs are good at helping people own their problems and decide to do something about it, but one of their failings is that they give the impression that we can do something about our failures and challenges on our own. If only we have “a little bit more willpower and positive thinking we can overcome anything.” Sadly most of us can’t. We need outside input.
When we make a mistake or commit a wrong against someone, we need to confess and own up to what we did and be forgiven so we can move on. Believe it or not, admitting to any wrong doing is a whole lot more rare today than we would like to admit. And it’s even rarer the older we get and the more set in our ways that we become. We by nature believe we are always right. We make our kids apologize every time they wrong their siblings. In fact, we even pride ourselves in that power to do that. However, how often do we confess to our wife when we are impatient with her? How often do we confess to our co-worker we were late on a deliverable because it was our own fault, rather than make some excuse or blame someone else?
Healing begins at the moment of confession. Freedom begins when we admit what we did wrong.
About the Author: Sam Casey is the Managing Partner at Banyan Creative based in Matthews, NC.