Ashes 5: Silent confession...

Sometimes we need words. Other times, silence says everything...

Psalm 32
1   Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2   Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3   While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4   For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.     Selah

5   Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin.                                    Selah

6   Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.

7   You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.             Selah

8   I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 9   Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.

10   Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD. 11   Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

During the years when I was aware of my sexuality but in active denial of it, my nighttime prayers were filled with groans and audible yearning for God to change me. My school days were filled with torment and taunting, name-calling, and outright shame. There was no hiding who I was from my peers, despite my valiant efforts. Even the girlfriends I had throughout elementary, middle, and high school later admitted their awareness of my identity.

But there was one person I was trying desperately to hide from: Nanny. At 15, my parents found out about me. An indeterminate amount of time passed (read: I really don't remember how long it was) before Nanny asked what was going on. In particular, she asked me why I was no longer allowed to use my parents' computer (putting the pieces together now?).

...I couldn't answer ... no words would come out of my mouth...

It was another year, perhaps two, before I could be honest and open with Nanny about my sexuality, my desire for a husband. She later admitted that she had suspicions, that she knew. But on the night she asked, when my only response was silence, I curled up against her with my head on her lap and simply lied there. Countless times since then I've thought about my interactions with God and with others — times when I was asked a question and could only respond with stillness and silence.

What has your experience with confession been? What about silence? How do they both make you feel? How do they impact your relationships? Rather than ramble on tonight, I'll simply leave you with these questions. Just remember — not responding with words doesn't mean you haven't given an answer. Your silence may be answer enough.