What I am about to tell you actually happened. However, it will be rendered in a rather unique and abstract manner.
The individual involved has given reserved permission with strict instructions not to reveal specifics about an incident. Other people know about it, but the individual does not want you to know about it for fear that you will judge them. In the meantime however, the opportunity is here presented to consider the strange and suspect category of abstract confessions.
Although the descriptions and explanations may sound strange and pointless, abstract confessions are told for the purpose of not incurring personal guilt about specific truths.
Therefore, while I do not have permission to yield the specifics, I do have permission to employ the abstract method as it deals with this particular and convenient confession technique unwittingly and regularly used by so many.
Having set the stage, I relate the following story that actually will not be told. The requested restraints put a great deal of stress on me, but I believe I can do it to bring forth a need spiritual truth.
In brief: “people were not present among the great crowd. Yellow flags thrown by the judges resulted in concerns among the upper tiers of biased viewers. One biased viewer was compelled to intercede with some untoward participation. They claimed that it was not their fault. But, the ensuing penalty was charged nonetheless to halt the previous advancement.”
Due to the restraints of abstract confessions, I was limited to how I related the account. It is interesting, however, that there are several examples of abstract confessions recorded in the Word of God.
For example, Moses confronted his brother, Aaron, with the question, “What did these people do to you that caused you to lead them into this God-forsaking idolatry?” Aaron merely employed the abstract confession technique. He reported, “The people forced me to take their gold, which I threw into the fire that was blazing. Suddenly, out came this golden calf. It was not my fault.”
Now, that is confession in abstract proportions! By using it, Aaron avoided the issues of personal guilt and specific truth.
King Saul of Israel provides another example. When battle was brewing with Philistine forces, Saul was divinely instructed to wait for Prophet Samuel’s arrival on the field to ensure the blessing and will of God. However, Saul became impatient with the wait. He assumed authority, and deliberately intruded into the priest’s office. He presided over the required sacrifice himself.
When Samuel eventually confronted Saul about his misdeed, Saul merely employed the abstract confession method of explanation. Said Saul, “I just knew that the Philistines would attack your precious people before we were spiritually prepared to fight the battle to which the Lord called us. So — I forced myself to do what Samuel should have been here to do. There it is again — abstract confession.
It is very clear that abstract confessions sound mighty strange and suspect. Yet, this is exactly how many are with God when it comes to confession.
The Scripture is clear about confession. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
But, for us to truly receive the forgiveness of God, our confessions are required to specify transgression. Full disclosure is required. Personal responsibility must be acknowledged. Complete honesty before God is the accepted practice that yields peace and joy with the Lord. It is pointless to throw an abstract confession at God.
Besides, abstract confessions do not result in a free pass with God. Both Aaron and Saul found that their abstract confessions did not abscond them from the consequences of their disobedience.
Better to be real with God.
However, concerning the initial incident cited above. Perhaps I can be point specific when I am in another state preaching revival. Preachers are allowed to do that anyway — aren’t they?
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.