A man stood before his church this evening. He opened his heart and let his guilt be exposed before his parents, his siblings, his girlfriend, his friends and some strangers. His girlfriend is pregnant and his sin is exposed. The reaction of the church was complete grace. The church leaders surrounded him with hugs and prayers of forgiveness. His family embraced him with complete acceptance. His confession allowed for this. The blood of Christ allowed for this. He didn't keep his sin hidden. Their child will be well regarded in this church community. The child's parents will be well looked after and they won't be looked down upon because he made himself vulnerable.
What would have happened in my church back home. No mention. Maybe a visit from some concerned people. I don't think a confession would have happened, let alone publicly. It would be winked at. There's no healing in this. There's no community in this. People would have been gracious, but I think the hidden sin's effect would stick. Public confession, at least in a small community, carries with it the healing power. The larger the group, the greater the healing, the vaporization of shame. It was literally one of the most beautiful moments I have experienced in church.