We construct elaborate but rickety structures to shield ourselves from confession. One of the most popular insulation techniques is recrimination, accusing the other person of what the other person accused us of. It’s ugly business and, even though countercharging doesn’t make sin disappear, it at least leads to weeks or months in the appeals system before a verdict is made. Who knows, maybe the initial allegation will even get dropped because, really, who has the time and resources to endure the litigation?
Another useful technique to dodge confession we might call credentialism, asking the other person what gives them the right to confront us or call us to repent. In this game, the parent card trumps the kid card, the shepherd card trumps the sheep card and, sadly, there is no joker for those who claim the upper hand. Arguing that authority is infallible by definition is a logical fallacy. But even when it doesn’t work, at least we can waste time forming a committee to investigate who’s responsible and we might forget about the original sin after a while.
Here’s the thing: the other person might be guilty of what they’re accusing us of. Perhaps that’s why they can see our sin so accurately; they know exactly what they’re looking at. Also, the other person may not actually have authority over us, but they see what the underneath of our authority looks like in a way we hadn’t considered from the top. Either way, the question is: are we sinning?
Blowing smoke in the face of others doesn’t put out the fire. There are all sorts of ways we can distance ourselves from and argue ourselves out of confession. As we do so, we also distance ourselves from forgiveness and fellowship with Christ and with each other.