I was called out on the one time I’ve used a swear word in years yesterday. It happened almost a year ago and a dear friend of mine pointed it out to me last night. I’d completely forgotten about it and when he refreshed my mind of the context “it didn’t seem so bad” for a second, and then I snapped myself out of it. Of course it’s bad! There is no justification for it.

I must admit, if I was one to blush, I would have been beet-red during the conversation. It’s embarrassing, to say the least, to have your mistakes pointed out to you so bluntly but also necessary. As I have learned, in the early days of the church confession was conducted in public. You were to stand up in front of the entire congregation and recite your sins. Of course it is no longer done like that but I had to stop and think about the benefits of public confession for a moment. You’d most certainly be far less inclined to commit the same sin again because you didn’t want to face the embarrassment of standing up and reciting it in front of your peers and loved ones. You’d also do your best to avoid doing anything that would be particularly embarrassing to admit to the world.

And so there I was, terribly ashamed while sitting there facing my shortcomings being read back to me by a peer, and my mind went reeling. If I can’t face my friend, how could I face my God? How could I possibly face the One who died on the cross for me and explain myself? Did it matter that I hadn’t uttered a swear word since or for a very long time beforehand? No it didn’t, because to be lulled so far deep into false security as to forget your falls and shortcomings is to make yourself a prime target for another attack and another fall.

Although I walked away embarrassed from that conversation, I also walked away ever grateful. The only way to overcome one’s demons is to look them in the face and acknowledge them for what they are.