“But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.”
- Luke 15:20
Many of us walk around with life baggage: ideas, thoughts, or feelings that weigh us down and make our journey through life more difficult. One of those feelings—perhaps the most paralyzing one of all—can be guilt. While it is a sign of a healthy conscience to feel remorse when we’ve done something that hurts another person, we can so easily go the next step and start to believe that we are in essence a "bad person." Feelings of shame from which we can't break free are not God's desire for us. God desires that we be set free from everything that holds us captive.
If you want to let go of some burdens from the past (or present) once and for all, or if you simply want hit the spiritual “reset” button by receiving a personal assurance of God’s love and forgiveness (called absolution), you are invited to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Individual Confession and Forgiveness.
Martin Luther himself firmly believed in the value of Confession and Forgiveness and included it in the Small Catechism that we still use today, saying “When I urge you to go to Confession, I am doing nothing else than urging you to be a Christian.”
Lent is a perfect time to receive this sacrament, although Reconciliation is available any time with with the Pastor. In the Lutheran Church, there are no awkward confessional booths or ten Hail Mary’s...just an honest, respectful conversation, God’s promise of free and unconditional grace, and that feeling of a load lifted off your shoulders.
Note: With the exception of imminent danger to self or others or the harm or abuse of minors, pastors are held to absolute confidentiality (the “seal of confession”) with regards to anything shared in the context of sacramental confession.