On Confessing One's Sins

THERE is many a point of view from which the confession of sins may be considered. That one can never be free from sin until he has first seen sin as sin and then relinquished it is a foregone conclusion. To be blind to sin is to continue to be its inevitable victim. Therefore if sin is to be overcome, it must first be recognized. Men have often felt that to acknowledge their sins to their neighbor would ease their own conscience; and as a result many an unwilling ear has seemed to find it necessary to listen to long dissertations on sinful thoughts and practices. That this is reprehensible and almost always unnecessary may be readily seen.

Now sin seems to hold tenaciously to its own supposititious entity, and therefore it all too frequently deceives mortals into believing that it is well to talk much of it. As the Christian Scientist awakens to the claims of sin, unless he is aware that it is a mistake to chatter about his shortcomings, he may be betrayed into doing this, believing that it will be a benefit to himself or others. To be sure, James has written, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." He, however, could scarcely have intended that mortals should magnify evil by talking unduly of it. Nevertheless, James must also have recognized that when one's sin has been openly against another it can never be completely unseen without its first having been openly acknowledged. Indeed, such restitution must be one of the first steps in true repentance and reformation

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." The Christian Scientist understands full well that to cover sin in his own thinking and acting is to encourage a brood of evils which will inevitably multiply to his own disaster. On the other hand, to be willing to recognize whatever is unlike God in the thoughts that knock at his mental door is to be on guard against all that can work ill in his experience.

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January 28, 1928

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