This week, we read about revivals that happened in China in the 1900s to 1930s. This was particularly interesting to me since I spent six weeks in China when I was in college. It was a great trip and I have fond memories of the believers I met while I was there. I have a few friends from that trip that have traveled back to help spread the name of Jesus in this closed land.
Most of the revivals mentioned in this chapter surrounded a missionary by the name of Jonathan Goforth. He spent a long time in China praying for God to do something special there. As he kept sowing, he just felt nothing was being reaped. He said, "I felt sure that there was something larger ahead of me, if I only had the vision to see what it was, and the faith to grasp it" (139). He just felt like God had something for him to be part of, but didn't know what it was or why it hadn't come yet. It was only after he finally succumbed to confession and forgiveness of another missionary that he began to see God using him.
The one thing I took from this chapter was that when God moves in the hearts of people, they confess their sins to one another. In every place Goforth went and preached, he saw amazing movements of the Spirit in the hearts of people in the confession of their sins. When he visited Walter Phillips, another missionary, God moved once again. Phillips, who was once skeptical, said:
"Now I understood why the floor was so wet--it was wet with pools of tears! . . . Then above the sobbing, in strained, choking tones, a man began to make public confession. Words of mine will fail to describe the awe and terror and pity of these confessions. It was not so much the enormity of the sins disclosed, or the depths of iniquity sounded, that shocked one.... It was the agony of the penitent, his groans and cries, and voice shaken with sobs; it was the sight of men forced to their feet, and, in spite of their struggles, impelled, as it seemed, to lay bare their hearts that moved one and brought the smarting tears to one's own eyes." (145)Then he finished by saying:
"Never have I experienced anything more heart breaking, more nerve racking than the spectacle of those souls stripped naked before their fellows." (145)After reading about these public confessions, I was brought to ask this question: Why don't we see that here in America? Why do people not confess their sins one to another like that? James 5:16 says that we are to do that, but often we don't. I wonder if we struggle so much with it because we care more about what people think of us than we do what God thinks of us. It is almost as if we are striving to "save face" with other people that we are scared to confess or tell them that we have sinned.
But more than that, in that quote, he said that it was not the enormity of the sins disclosed. I mean, why don't people confess their jealousy or their worldliness or their unthankfulness? That is something I am thinking about.
Why Don't You think People Don't Confess Their Sins To One Another?