Monday, May 21, 2007

Sinners Anonymous

“Hello, my name is Tim. I’m a sinner.”

From what I know of the 12 step programs, I like them. Recognize your helplessness, your need for help from a higher power. Meet with others and admit your need. Share readings and advice to help overcome the problem.

I think that we need to develop a sort of Sinners Anonymous. Too many times we communicate the idea that sinners are the exception, that the “normal members” have no struggle with sins, that sin is the great unmentionable. The best we can do is go forward and admit that we’ve sinned… but be sure that you don’t slip and mention what that sin was!

I need to tell at least three people that I’m a sinner:

(1) God. I need to go to Him and tell Him that I’ve sinned. Yes, He knows it. But our relationship will never be right unless I admit the obvious to Him.

(2) You. You need to know that you aren’t alone in your struggles with sin. You need to know my struggles, so that you can hold me accountable, so that you can share suggestions of how to overcome my weaknesses, so that you can continually challenge me to do better.

(3) Me. I need to be sure that I know that only God’s grace can make me righteous. God tolerates no boasting in His presence, so I need to get rid of all pride. I can’t overcome sin on my own, and I need to admit that.

Have you noticed how many of our prayer requests at church have to do with physical health issues and so few with spiritual health issues? There is no problem as big as sin; why do we pray so often about money problems and job problems, yet ignore the “elephant in the room” that is sin? Let’s talk about sin. Talk about how to overcome it. Talk about the damage it does. Talk about our weaknesses so that our brothers can help. Let’s pray about sin. Together.

Sinners Anonymous Meets Here: Sunday, 10 a.m.


lisa leichner said...

Great idea!

I have been thinking a lot lately about the need Christians have for accountability. I haven't decided if it should be to the whole congregation (i.e., confessing up front after the sermon) or if smaller groups could be formed so confession would be more private, and also the group would more actively hold each other accountable.

I appreciate it when others share their struggles and I am less insecure about the fact that I have my own sin and struggles.

I went forward in my own congregation back in November. I really felt the need to open up to them and bear my burdens and confess that I really needed to trust God more, but I was also hoping that it would clear the way for more people to respond in the future. Only 3 people have responded since then, so I guess that didn't work. But the love and support I received from the congregation afterwards was great and truly needed. I needed a lot more support than just from the small group of people I was close to.

Tim Archer said...


Thanks for commenting. To be honest, I'm not always sure that "going forward" is the best mechanism for dealing with confessions, but it's about all most congregations have. But I have seen what you've seen: most congregations respond well to those who do go forward.

Grace and peace,

Paula Harrington said...

Very good post.