Five Questions about Confession

Confession is a lost art.  Blame?  Not so much.

I find that there’s a link between how well I confess and how often I blame others and justify myself.  Avoiding confession allows me to think the fault lies with someone else.  Confessing my sins helps me realize that I am certainly part (if not nearly all) the problem.

That’s important as a Christ follower but essential as a leader.  Leaders who blame

poison the culture

demotivate their team; and

stunt their organization’s progress.

All of this happens when we are unwilling to humble ourselves, own our shortcomings, seek help and ask for guidance.  Lack of confession stunts our growth as a Christ follower, person and leader.  It just does.

Here are five questions that help me as I think through the issue of confession:

  1. Is confession a regular part of my prayer life?
  2. Am I defensive about an issue?  Chances are there is something God wants to deal with lying under my defensiveness.
  3. Is my confession specific (I did or thought X yesterday) or general? The more specific it is the more effective it is.
  4. Am I quick to apologize to the people I  serve?
  5. Have I stopped blaming ‘others’ ‘factors’ and ‘forces’ as the reason me, our team or our organization isn’t making progress on an issue?

On the other side of confession is authenticity, transparency, humility, responsibility and progress.

What are you learning about confession? What questions help you focus on the issue?


  1. Jonathan Holcomb on March 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I think to that one great value of confession is how it keeps us separated from guilt. As leaders we have a lot of responsibility to others. If we hold too tightly to the idea that people expect perfection from us, the more likely we will blame others. When we confess, guilt doesn’t have the ability to take hold in our hearts and leadership.

  2. Alan Baker on March 18, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Confession of sin is very liberating and doesn’t hinder us at all. Wisdom and discernment is essential because often situations that come up are complicated. Digging is necessary. Sometimes, addressing a fault in others is necessary to correct a situation. Humility goes two ways. Of course, if it’s going the same way all the time, then it’s safe to say something’s not quite right.

    • Carey on March 18, 2011 at 9:38 am

      Interesting point Alan. Thanks for the thought on humility. I love this passage from CS Lewis: “Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”

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