Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Priest, a Nun, and a Gobstopper?

Chris Newcomb

Happy October!  This is the month of ghouls, ghosts, goblins, and even gobstoppers!  That’s right, Halloween is just around the corner.   Kids will be trick or treating so they can visit the dentist in November!  And, of course, it follows, that many will be attending costume parties.  

One of the most popular costumes people wear is the cassock of a priest or the habit that is worn by nuns.  The joke is usually that the wearer of said costume is either non-religious or purposely blasphemous to religion in general.  Be that as it may, people find great joy in seeing someone play a role that is not normally them.  In spite of this obvious discrepancy, people will often playfully go up to a ‘nun’ or ‘priest’ at a party and ‘confess’ their sins or mistakes much to the delight of those around them.  These black marks of the soul may be actually committed by the confessing party or just made up off the top of their head.  Either way, people pay attention.  We should too. 

Step 10 of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous instructs addicts and alcoholics to continually pay attention to their words and actions because of the negative effect they can have on others around them.  In fact, not only does it encourage constant vigilance over personal conduct, it goes one step farther:  it instructs those who are out of line to make an amends as soon as possible after the offense is committed.  Brilliant idea.  Hard to live out!

So what does all this mean?  Well you don’t have to go to a priest or nun at a party for starters!  Of course, if you are of some religious persuasion, you can go to your spiritual advisor to discuss your misdeeds.  This is good for cleansing of the soul as well as an outsider’s perspective.  The most challenging part is confessing your wrongs to the person(s) you actually hurt. 

The important thing to remember is that you are only responsible for your side of the street, so to speak.  That is, you only acknowledge and confess your wrong doing to the injured party.  Their reaction, positively or negatively, should be their concern not yours.  They may thank you and forgive you on the spot.  On the other hand, they may chew you out and never speak to you again.  The point is not their reaction but rather your honesty and timeliness in making right your wrong. 

You may be asking the question why at this point.  Why is it important to do this in the first place?  Why does timing matter and why does it need to be as soon as possible?  These are all good questions.  The main reason for “clearing the slate” is if they do not deal with issues very soon after they happen, they tend to relapse.  Broken relationships, mistakes, faults, and sins cause many people to run right back to their addiction.  Then they continue to embrace the spiritual malady instead of running to the cure of confession.  What will you do? 

I’ll leave you with these words by the music group D.C. Talk.  The song is called “Between You and Me”.  They sing the following words which when digested can only leave us with one impression:  the need to take action.  Will you take action?

“Between You and Me”
 "Just between you and me,
Confession needs to be made
Recompense is my way to freedom
It’s my way to freedom”  (D.C. Talk)

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