One thing that I became a pro at in church was “confession”. This is a side note to the statement I just made and I’m sure many of you that perhaps have grown up in holiness will not agree with me but one of the discoveries I had to make in dealing with THIS ISSUE was the fact that I came to the realization and understanding that one of the reasons I could not and did not experience a level of freedom that I could enjoy, was because of my lack of acknowledgement of needing God to help me but running immediately to my pastor to tell everything that I had done. I understand the concept and the importance of accountability and being able to have someone to be able to “put you in check”, but in my case, the way the churches were set up, the pastor held the power to forgive your sins. Of course I’m being a bit sarcastic, but the way I and many others spent time in confession, you would think our pastor actually had replaced Jesus. I followed the rules of the church and anytime I found myself “in sin”, I would do what the rules were and confess to by pastor(s). As I began to mature in my walk with God, I would discover a scripture that would alter my perspective of confession, and the role my pastor(s) played in it. I will discuss that later in the book as it will be one of the moments that would change me forever. I remember the first time I called my pastor after my “first offense”. I was a nervous wreck! Here is another side note, and believe me you will probably get plenty more side notes throughout the book. My first pastor, Bishop Leodies Warren was a true example of a pastor. He was a nurturing pastor, full of wisdom, knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. He was from that era when pastors had the respect of the community and members and non-members alike. He was well known in our city as a holiness preacher, and had a lifestyle that backed his reputation. So here I am, still a “newbie” in the church, I’ve “sinned” and now I have to go and tell this “god-like” figure that I’ve committed a sin. I am not one hundred percent sure of the day I goofed up, but I do remember trying to build up the nerve to tell him after Bible Study on Thursday night. It was a bit different growing up in the church. You didn’t have administrative assistants or secretaries that you had to book an appointment with. If the pastor was free and had no one in his office, you simply walked in and talked to him. I remember walking in church that night just weighed down because of what I’d done coupled with the fact that I actually have to tell him that I masturbated……..SO EMBARASSING!!!
As I sat through the lesson, there was nothing on my mind but trying to figure out how to confess. I had never had to tell on myself before, so I didn’t know if there was some sort of script that we followed or not. Bible Class is now over, and I’m psyching myself up to go back and talk. Usually, after Bishop Warren was finished with his lesson, he would take up offering and then have the church announcements. Usually, he would make his way to his office while the announcements were going on and one of the associate ministers would close out the service with the benediction. The only humorous thing about confession was the whole church almost knew who was guilty because there was always a dash to his office after church. Let it be a night for communion, the line seemed to be wrapped around the wall of the church of those whispering in his ear before taking communion so no one would be guilty of taking communion “unworthy” (I Cor 11:27-29) Because I really didn’t know what to do being new so I just kind of stayed close to his office and when I saw one of the members leave and no one else around I knocked on the door and went inside. For those that actually knew the late Bishop Leodies Warren and the way he talked, he said, “Brother Thompson”, and I was scared as all get out. I had peeped my head in Bishop Warren’s office a few times, but never had a reason to actually go inside. Now, I’m inside with the door closed and I got my nerves up to tell him that I gave into my lust and masturbated. I actually braced myself for the worst as I really didn’t know what to expect from my confession session. He paused for a moment as if he were getting instructions from God, and he told me that I needed to be careful and that he would pray for me. That’s all?! You mean to tell me that all the anxiety and worry I brought upon myself was for my pastor to tell me that he was going to pray for me? I actually felt this burden lift from me and it felt as though I could now get back on track.