When it comes to the discipline of confession we can’t fudge it. By that I mean you need to take the time to reflect and dig out the specifics of your failures. It isn’t enough to just admit to a failure in general terms. “I’m sorry for my anger,” is too vague to be really helpful.
“A generalized confession may save us from humiliation and shame, but it will not ignite inner healing.”Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
It is important to be specific. “This morning I was angry and I yelled at Bob,” is a much better example. It helps us to identify the ways in which we actually fail.
Even better, go a step further. Confess the deeper motivations that led to these specific actions. “I was angry and I yelled at Bob because I wanted to be in control.” Here is where we begin to see our idols – the things that are most important to us. It is only when we begin to identify them that we can learn how much they fail us and remember the greater beauty of Jesus.
The more specifically we can confess our failures and what led to those failures, the more specifically we can acknowledge God’s forgiveness and seek for His help.
“Confession is about admitting concrete sins. People usually justify themselves by making a general acknowledgement of sin. But I experience the compete forlornness and corruption of human nature, insofar as I ever experience it at all, when I see my own specific sins.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together