1. We treat the confession itself not as an act of repentance but mainly of catharsis. This is the employment of cheap grace. Basically, we’re not looking so much for the grace that frees and empowers us but the opportunity to “get something off our chests.” At least, until the next opportunity.
2. The confession becomes a self-indulgent “pity party” session. It is not about receiving the word of forgiveness in the gospel from our brethren and walking in that freedom but about occupying their ears to satisfy our need for attention and soaking up their consolation. It’s not the gospel’s embrace we really want, in other words, but some pats on the back.
3. We turn our confession into self-justification. We end up spending most of the time blaming our wrongs on all the people whose fault it really is. We use the time to confess others’ sins, not our own.
4. We treat confession secretly as sport. Mainly, we confess certain things to see what might scandalize our community or offend their sensibilities. We enjoy cultivating a prurient interest or creating a shock factor. This is relatively rare but still real.
5. We confess sins to look like good confessors. This is what Bonhoeffer is mainly addressing in the excerpt above.
Note: Some of these sins can only be self-diagnosed. Let us be more on guard of our own hearts’ tendencies toward these perversions of confession than on the watch for others’ tendencies toward them.Read the rest.