Confession (Part 2)

David Speicher

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

As we addressed the concept of confession needing to be an adopted life style of the recovering sexual addict; let me lay out for you just one template of what thorough confession looks like. This will be a six step process that does not have to be followed exactly; this is designed to be a template for you. Several of the components are crucial; otherwise, you will fall back into worldly sorrow which is not the least bit productive. We know from our discussion last time that worldly sorrow leads to death, the death of your relationship. You do not want the death of your relationship, for that leads in most cases to the death of you.

Here are a few principles to hang on to as you go through the process of healthy confession:

1. Stay out of your own stuff. Confession is about the other person, not about you, so do not make it about you. Do not defend yourself, do not rebut, do not offer excuses or reasons why you did what you did, focus intently on the person you are offering confessions to.

2. Do not apologize or seek forgiveness until later. This is vital to understand, if you offer ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘please forgive me’ early, you may leave the impression that you are done with the ordeal. Trust me, you are just beginning, and the man who would be willing to just begin again with his wife is a man on the road to recovery. Apologizing too early short circuits healthy confession and forgiveness. Remember, this is not about you. This is about God using you to bring healing to someone you have wounded.

Let’s begin’

    1. Describe to your partner what it is that you have done to hurt your partner. I suggest that you write it down and share it with your partner. Now, she knows full well what you did in most cases, however in order to have intelligent conversation, you two must talk about the same thing. Speaking what you have done will also begin the process of ownership. Yes, that is correct you have got to take ownership. Do not tell her what she did to cause this, tell her what you did wrong. This may be some of the hardest stuff you have ever done’do it anyway. The end result is Godly intimacy.

    2. Ask your partner to share with you three feelings that came out of that experience. Feelings? I can not adequately convey to you the importance of addressing the issue of feelings with your wife. So often, when you apologize, feelings are left out of the equation. She has them, and you put them there. She truly needs to know that you realize that they are there. This is a travesty of your sexual sin, men. You are out doing your thing and she is paying for it. When you ask her how she feels about it, you get to look in and see the price tag for what you’ve done… step on in, be a man. As men sometimes we have to go places where we do not want to go, this is one of them.

When she shares with you those three feelings, be sure to give her every opportunity to pick the words she wants. Do not change them to absolve your guilt, listen to the words that she chooses. Make sure that you ask her why she chose those words over the thousands of other feeling words that are in her arsenal. This is not to make her defensive, this is to create conversation so that you can move to step number three.

3. Reflect back to you partner EXACTLY what has been shared with you. Be a tape recorder; push the rewind button and then the play button. Share with her exactly what you heard her say. Do not put your spin on this, do not point blame at her, and do not become frustrated with her. All of these things are about you; remember this is not about you. This is a very necessary segment of this process. Believe it or not, she needs to know that you heard her. She needs to know that you are willing to listen to what she has to say without telling her what she is supposed to feel or say.

Give to your wife the opportunity to clarify her message to you. After hearing you say what she just said, she might think of something different and want to share that with you. The more she has the opportunity to share and clarify now, the less she will do that with growing levels of intensity later.

4. Share with your wife whether or not you are responsible for the hurt she is feeling. Look at it this way, consider your wife as a hit and run victim. Were you an innocent bystander that is touched and grieved by the carnage left by the truck that ran her over? Or, are you the guy behind the wheel? This is important men. Later when the time comes, you can apologize for this thing happening to her or you can apologize for doing this to her. Which ever one of these that you choose will make all the difference in the world as to whether or not you experience Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow.

Tell her you were driving the truck. Now, one thing to remember to help you through this process, you are not taking responsibility for everything ever gone wrong in the relationship, only that one thing that you stated at the beginning of this process.

5. Share with your wife how you feel for her hurt. Men, follow me on this one for just a moment. Picture in your mind the throne of God. However that looks to you is fine. Seated next to God is you. It is take your kid to work day, and there you are for the day watching Dad (God) do what he does. Interesting thing is that He has His arm around you, holding you close to Himself. He is very happy that you are there with Him. What is it that God is doing at this moment in time? He is not looking at you, He is looking at your wife, the moment she found out what you did. He is looking at her heart. Men, my question to you is, what is the look on the God’s face? What do you see?

Do you think anger is the correct response, is God angry with you? No, in the most grace filled way let me say, that this is not about you, this is about her. God is not looking at you; He is looking at your wife. He is very glad that you are there with Him. Why, because He wants to invite you into a deeper sense of what He feels for your wife when you hurt her with sexual sin. God has you close so that you know that He is not rejecting you (Isaiah 41:9). There is another reason why God has you close, He wants you to see what He truly feels for your wife.

What is the look on God’s face? Maybe it is compassion, sorrow, a broken heart, maybe sadness. Do you think it would be all right if some of what God is feeling for your wife began to move into you? Do you think it would be OK for you to begin to hurt the way God hurts for your wife?

Now you are getting a deeper picture of 2 Corinthians 7:10 ‘Godly sorrow leads to repentance…’ Imagine if you will that God asks you a question, ‘What are we going to do about this?’ I believe that God would want to use you as a tool in His hand to bring healing to your wife even though you are the one who brought the hurt to her in the first place.

Men, do your best to communicate to her what you are feeling for her, not for you. This is not the time for ‘I am sorry,’ or ‘would you forgive me.’ Think about looking into the soul of your mate, tell her what you see. Here are some ideas for your use: ‘It saddens me that you are hurting so much,’ ‘it breaks my heart that you are left with this,’ ‘I can see that you are in a lot of pain.’ Some of the most powerful exchanges between a husband and a wife that I have ever witnessed have come out of this time. Those times were not because of the husband’s eloquence, it was because of the struggle for words. Men the words are not nearly as important as your heart attempting to communicate the heart of God. You at this point are God’s messenger.

6. Seek forgiveness and pray for you wife. Now is the time to say that you are sorry for hurting her for just the one thing mentioned at the beginning of this process. Seeking forgiveness before this would be premature. Men, ask her for forgiveness in a humble way. After you have done this, pray for her. You may not be a man who prays out loud much’learn to, your wife needs you to. Listen, when you pray, do so in such a way that your wife hears you ask for God’s forgiveness as well. She needs to know that you place yourself under His authority. This will allow her to trust you sooner in most cases. Be sure to pray specifically for the three emotions that she mentioned, ask God to specifically heal those through the power of the Holy Spirit. If appropriate, hold her at the end of this process.

If you are interested in a handout that greatly helps the flow of this process you can contact my office in Tampa at 813-626-5394. If you would like to e-mail me the results of this process please do. My email is Dspeicher@crosstownchurch.com. If you have questions concerning any aspect of this process contact me as well. Some marital situations are very volatile after betrayal, so be sure to use wisdom as to when to implement.

For more help see Every Man’s Battle.

Confession (Part 1): By God’s Design

David Speicher

Confession is an integral part of recovery. Did you know that a restored relationship comes only through confession? You might think that having a changed life is enough, well it is not. Your changed life is a good thing for you, but what about the carnage you have left in the lives of other people?

I wonder what God thinks about all of this? I wonder what God sees as He looks into these things? He sees you, a changed man, blessed by Him and on your way to purity and holiness. He sees her, wounded, broken from all the sexual transgressions. I believe God would ask of you, ‘What are we going to do about all of this?’

You see, the scripture is replete with verses that would encourage you to look at another’s hurt, especially if you were the source of the hurt.

I hope that when you read this, you have already experienced God’s grace and mercy and that you know that you are truly forgiven. I hope that you can see beyond yourself to what has happened in others as a result of you.

One of those verses in the Bible that speaks to the issue of a man looking into another person’s life is II Corinthians 7:10. This is a powerful verse that will help you to understand God’s point of view in relation to others. Listen to this, ‘Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.’

The reason why confession is instrumental in restoring your relationship is that confession works in your heart, as well as in the hearts of those who have been hurt by you to produce God’s view of the situation. If you can get God’s perspective on the situation, you are so much closer to where you need to be.

Here is what often happens. When you do something wrong you say ‘I am sorry’ or you may venture out into those difficult words, ‘would you forgive me?’ The result of this is that you have fulfilled the legal requirements for asking for forgiveness and believing you are all done, you move away from the situation on to bigger and better things in your life. You have just engaged in a legal transaction, that is what I would call worldly sorrow. It is precisely this worldly sorrow that leads to death, because you are relieved of the guilt for what you have done, yet the other person still carries the hurt.

If nothing is done to address the hurt and you feel legally you are absolved of the situation, then you will experience death, death of the relationship.

You see, as unresolved hurts mount in the other person and you continue to say ‘I am sorry,’ or even ‘would you forgive me,’ that person will grow to resent you. That person will grow bitter. You will see no reason to change what you are doing, and you will assume the other person has not gotten over the hurt. You might even assume that this is her problem not yours. You believe you have done what is necessary by asking for forgiveness.
Listen men; do not fall into this trap by missing the true needs of that person. This is most likely not your heart, yet you can end up doing this time and time again.

Let’s look deeper into this verse. Use your imagination with me for just a moment. Can you imagine if God was watching the person that you hurt the moment when that person heard the news, maybe the moment that she found out about the betrayal? What do you think God was feeling for her? Maybe God was feeling compassion, a broken heart, sadness and sorrow. This is Godly sorrow.

Have you ever felt that sorrow? Don’t read by this too quickly, God’s sorrow, not yours. Not you sorrowing over what you have done, something different than that. You overwhelmed with the look on God’s face as He sees His precious child, His little girl hurting, have you ever felt that?

There is a big difference between these two. One is about you and the other is about God, and the only means of true restoration. One prompts you to say ‘there that is enough, I am I am done. I am no longer responsible for what I have done to her.’ The other prompts you to see things as God sees them. Then you feel things as God feels them and then you do things that God would have you do as His hands, feet and lips.

This kind of attitude would prompt conversation that might sound like this: ‘As I look into your soul (the way God does) I see hurt and brokenness. I am here as God’s agent of reconciliation. I am here to be what you need me to be.’

You see men, this is how Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and worldly sorrow leads to death. Worldly sorrow prompts you to do everything you can to restore you. Godly sorrow, because you see that you have hurt God and because you see that you have hurt others, prompts you to do everything you can to restore others. In the next article I would like to offer to you a template of what Godly confession looks like. A confession that is born from the foundation of a Godly sorrow that comes directly from the throne of God.

For more help, see Every Man’s Battle.

Celebrating God’s Attributes: His Strength

Dwayne Collins

“Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!”

We may all be familiar with this line. It is from the Superman series and is a description of the attributes of the famous caped hero and mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet, Clark Kent. It almost sounds like Superman is God. But borrowing from a line by the late Senator Lloyd Bensten during the 1988 Vice-Presidential debate, I know God, and Superman is no God.

His Strength Defined

God is omnipotent or all-powerful. This is one of His attributes. According to the dictionary, it means that God is almighty, having unlimited authority or influence, and unlimited power.

It is hard to imagine All-powerful. Even Superman’s strength was limited, especially if he was exposed to kryptonite. In our finite minds, it is hard to imagine an entity that has no limitations whatsoever. The task of comprehending God’s unlimited power is further hindered with the task of realizing that His power always was and always will be. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

But it is God who created everything, and it is God that holds it together. He created everything and He maintains everything (Colossians 1).

His Strength Manifested

We see God’s strength manifested in many ways. First we see it in the creation (Genesis 1). And we see that the only power that we, the created, have is the power granted by God (John 19). 

We also see God’s strength manifested in the plagues He placed on Egypt when Moses was asking Pharaoh to free the Israelites (Exodus 5).  It is manifested in the parting of the Red Sea and the manna from heaven (Exodus 14, 16). We see His power manifested in the story of Joseph (Genesis 37), and when Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den (Daniel 6). There are numerous illustrations in the Bible where God’s power is manifested.

We can see God’s power manifested in everyday life. God’s strength has been manifested in the improvements of society and the whole human race through of the introduction of schools, hospitals and charities. We have seen it in the improvement in the status of women and the abolishment of slavery. Proverbs 14:31 says, He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

But by far the greatest manifestation of God’s power is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He not only conquered death, but also assured us of eternal life. Regarding his Son,’who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:3-).

His Strength Purposed

God’s power and strength are not without purpose. All of His attributes work in harmony with each other and without His power His other attributes would be limited or voided. His power was purposed to select the Children of Israel as His chosen people (Exodus 19). His power also purposed that all who believed would be His chosen people. John 3:16 reads, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ We are all called to be His chosen people (Romans 9).

His Strength Celebrated

The fact that we as believers tend to forget all too often is that as His children, we share in His unlimited power. Through His power, we are able to do anything. Matthew 19:26 says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” As His children, even though we experience sufferings, we need not fear the suffering. Daniel 3:17 reads, If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it. If we face danger, we need not fear the danger. We are kept by His mighty power. (1 Peter 1).

God is all-powerful. By His power we are created. By His power we are cared for. By His power we are assured of eternal life with Him. Because of the Power of God, it is time to celebrate. Exodus 9:16 says, But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Let us all take time to join in celebrating His attribute: His Strength, His Power.

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation. 4:11).