What I am about to tell you actually happened. However, it will be rendered in a rather unique and abstract manner. The individual involved has given reserved permission for me to write about it, but with strict instructions not to give specifics about the incident. Some people know about it, but this individual does not want you to know about it.
So, the opportunity is here presented to consider the inane and inadequate category of abstract confessions.
Although the descriptions and explanations may sound strange and pointless, abstract confessions are given for two specific purposes: first, that personal guilt should not be actually admitted, and, second, that the accurate truth should be averted.
Therefore, while I do not have permission to tell the specifics, I do have permission to employ the abstract method of telling it to you. I would have you not to be flustered about it, because this particular confession technique is unwittingly used by so many.
Having set the stage, I relate the story of confession that actually will not be told. The requested restraints put a great deal of pressure on me, but I believe I can do it in order to bring forth a needed spiritual truth.
Here it goes, in abstracted brief: “People were not present among the great crowd. The waving flags from below resulted in concerns among the upper tiers, and this forced intercessory participation from the individual concerned. It was not their fault, but the record was nonetheless set straight in one direction or another in which two wrongs effectively negated a right.”
Due to the boundaries of abstract confession, I was clearly limited to how I related the account. Though I commend the person for their shallow confession, we can see how inane and inadequate abstract confession is in avoiding personal guilt and revealing accurate truth.
By contrast, it is interesting that there are several examples of abstract confession recorded in the Word of God. One example is when Moses confronted his brother, Aaron, as to what the people did to cause him to lead them in a blatant display of idolatry.
Aaron merely employed the abstract confession technique. He reported, “The people forced me to take their gold, which I happened to throw into the fire. Suddenly, out came this golden calf!”
This is confession of abstract proportions. By using this method, Aaron avoided accountability, and he deflected guilt by skewing the truth.
King Saul of Israel provides another example. When battle was brewing with Philistine forces, Saul was instructed to wait for Prophet Samuel’s arrival to ensure the blessing and will of God. However, Saul assumed personal authority, and deliberately intruded into the priestly office when he presided over the required sacrifice himself.
When Samuel confronted Saul about his misdeed, Saul merely employed the ruse of abstract confession, “I just knew that the Philistines would come down on my precious people before we were spiritually prepared to fight the battle to which the Lord called us. So, I forced myself to do what you should have been here earlier to do.”
There it is again — abstract confession.
But, when it comes to our confessing our wrongs and sins to God, doing it abstractly is inadequate. The Scripture is clear about confession, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
For us to receive the forgiveness of God, our confessions are expected to be point specific. Furthermore, right confessions admit to personal responsibility. Others should not be blamed in our place.
Be honest with God. Ask Him to forgive. He is full of forgiveness.
Abstract confessions do not result in free passes with God. Ultimately, both Aaron and Saul found that trying to get by with abstract confessions did not free them from the consequences of their disobedience. After all, it is better to be real with God. He knows when we are trying to cut the confession corner.
And, no, the incident did not involve me. But, it did with someone close to me. That is all I will say.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.