Michael Kelley writes about the one person who can cast the first stone of condemnation against us.
On a related note, Trevin Wax says, “It is puzzling to see one of the defining marks of a Christian’s identity quietly disappear from a church’s worship.” He refers to confession of sin, and though a corporate confession can encourage us to view God as perpetually frowning at our inability to measure up to his standard, the lack of corporate confession can encourage the opposite error, the belief that sin doesn’t matter.
John Hendryx says he had to warm up to use of corporate confessions, but now he cherishes them. “For most it makes the time of worship more authentic and joyful for it strikes a blow against self-righteousness and humbles us before God as we say what we know to be true of ourselves and the only Lord who saves us. It reminds us that we are not better than others and that it is only grace (an alien righteousness) which makes us what we are.”
That mirrors my experience with corporate confession of sin. Reading with those around me how I have not done what I should have done and did what I should not have done opens me up to the wonderful announcement that Christ Jesus has given me his righteousness and set me free from the power of sin. It’s liberating to hear out loud and in public, because in private it’s easy to pick up stones to throw at myself.