A Confession

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.

I didn’t really mean to. I thought I was doing the right thing.

But over time I started believing it was more important to convince people I was right about what you want than to show them who you are.

I became more concerned with piousness than piety.

I gave you allegiance, but not submission.

I invoked your name to belittle, argue, and exclude.

I used your words not to heal, but to attack.

You asked me to be your hands and feet, but all I wanted to be was your mouthpiece.

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

Forgive me Sister, for I have sinned.

I thought I was following the rules. But in doing so I failed to appreciate you for all you are.

I pigeonholed you into unfair and antiquated gender roles.

I devalued your work, and I made matrimony and motherhood your only acceptable virtues.

When you needed support, I responded with empty rituals.

When you needed to express yourself, I handed you a one-size-fits-all formula to follow.

I disrespected you, objectified you, and oppressed you in countless ways.

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

Forgive me Brother, for I have sinned.

I took you for granted.

I missed so many opportunities to engage you in conversation.

Instead of celebrating your unique ability to contribute, I offered you a litany of boredom and irrelevance.

When we were together, I failed to respect your particular gifts and talents and thrust you into roles for which you were not suited.

When you wanted adventure, I offered chores. When you wanted meaning, I offered clichés and platitudes. When you wanted a strong foundation, I offered toxic masculinity.

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

Forgive me Friend, for I have sinned.

I meant to be helpful.

But I assumed you wanted the same things as me, without ever asking. I saw you through my own eyes instead of getting to know who you are.

Our relationship was little more than a consumer transaction to me.

When you needed me to listen to you, I only saw ingratitude.

When you needed me to help you, I demanded that you try harder.

I used you for my own benefit without seeking to benefit you.

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

Forgive me Neighbor, for I have sinned.

You weren’t like me, so we never talked.

You came from a different place, your skin was a different color, you didn’t believe the same things as me, and you loved the people I thought it was wrong for you to love.

I never bothered to try to know you, because it was easier to just believe what others said about you.

I wanted you to conform to my ways before I would even approach you, and I missed out on all the richness, the beauty, and the joy I could have experienced through you.

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

Forgive me World, for I have sinned.

I was supposed to change you.

But I was too easily drawn to status, power, influence, and privilege.

I was supposed to bring justice, but instead I joined forces with the unjust.

I offered banal, insipid answers to your deepest worries and hardest questions.

I did good works on your behalf, to be sure. But too often those works came with an agenda.

I wanted to be in you but not of you, so I withdrew from you rather than face your difficulties side-by-side…and I pretended I was better than you because of it.

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

I am the Church, and this is my confession.

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

Adapted from an article originally posted April 23, 2014

5 thoughts on “A Confession

  1. Thank you for making me think about my ways of dealing with others. May God forgive us all for the many ways in which we have failed Him.

  2. Pingback: Blog post: A Confession – Accidental Tomatoes

  3. I would so like to call out the people who attended the National Prayer Breakfast and heard the speaker talk about treating our enemies with repeat, a direct quote from Jesus, and would later laugh when Trump said he disagreed with the speaker, which in actuality was disagreeing with Jesus. Forgive me for pointing out their bowing to power instead of the teaching of Jesus

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