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Confession is Good for the Soul

By Neva Bodin

“I shot my first husband!” It seemed rapport between us was instant. I had never seen her before. But let me back up a bit.

I was shopping at Walmart. As I entered the soft drink section, a fellow shopper sighed loudly. “Ah, finally, now my husband won’t complain when he comes home.” She pulled a 24 pack of Coke from the shelf.

“Is he addicted to Coke?” I asked. It seemed since she’d invited me into her world with the remark about her husband and making eye contact with me, I should comment. She affirmed with another statement of how he is without his Coke. “Like a girl,” meaning he got quite dramatic.

But a few moments later (I forget what led up to it since the shock of the next statement wiped out some of my memory), she said, “I shot my first husband.” Cheerfully and with no regrets apparently. I was hooked.

“He hit me right here,” she indicated the spot. “I picked up our gun, and he asked me what I was going to do with that! Bam! He called the cops and I got fined for shooting a firearm inside city limits. I just grazed his arm,” she said with a shrug. What a confession! I wondered why we hadn’t drawn a crowd yet. Not too many in the soft drink section that day. We chatted a bit more, then moved on with our shopping. I didn’t see her again.

No one really knows where the saying, “Confession is good for the soul,” came from. But the Bible certainly supports that truth. From the Old to the New Testaments, we are told to confess our wrongdoings against others and against God. Silently or out loud? Sometimes it’s important for us to hear what we are saying…I talk to myself quite often for that very reason!

I once worked at a Long Term Care facility with a chapel sporting a built-in confessional—two small booths with a screen between so the priest might listen to confessions by the residents in privacy. When I worked there it was used—every time the state department came for inspections—to hide the cleaning products one resident insisted on having in her bathroom which the state said was illegal.

However, that small place reminded me that confession is good for the soul. God’s throne room is open for confession, and I think he has cleaning products there too: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) RSV