None of us feels the true love of God till we realize how wicked we are. But you can’t teach people that – they have to learn by experience.
Dorothy L. Sayers

In confession there takes place a breakthrough to community. Sin wants to be alone with people. It takes them away from the community. The more lonely people become, the more destructive the power of sin over them. The more deeply the become entangled in it, the more unholy is their loneliness. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of what is left unsaid sin poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen in the midst of a pious community. In confession the light of the gospel breaks into the darkness and closed isolation of the heart. Sin must be brought into the light. What is unspoken is said openly and confessed. All that is secret and hidden comes to light. It is a hard struggle until the sin crosses one’s lips in confession. But God breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron (Ps. 107:16). Since the confession of sin is made in the presence of another Christian, the last stronghold of self-justification is abandoned. The sinner surrenders, giving up all evil, giving the sinner’s heart to God and finding the forgiveness of all one’s sin in the community of Jesus Christ and other Christians. Sin that has been spoken and confessed has lost all of its power. It has been revealed and judged as sin. It can no longer tear apart the community. Now the community bears the sin of the individual believer, who is no longer alone with this evil but has “cast off” this sin by confessing it and handing it over to God. The sinner has been relieved of sin’s burden…We can admit our sins and in this very act find community for the first time. The hidden sins separated the sinner from the community and made the sinner’s apparent community all a sham. The sins that were acknowledged helped the sinner to find true community with other believers in Jesus Christ.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Search thou my heart;
If there be guile,
It shall depart
Before thy smile.

Search thou my soul;
Be there deceit,
‘T will vanish whole
Before thee, sweet.

Upon my mind
Turn thy pure lens;
Naught shalt thou find
Thou canst not cleanse.

If I should pray,
I scarcely know
In just what way
My prayers would go.

So strong in me
I feel love’s leaven,
I ‘d bow to thee
As soon as Heaven!
Paul Laurence Dunbar