In my youth, I remember hearing this slogan repeated regularly as it was broadcast across America telling us that this was the stuff to keep our drains clean. In response, many homeowners purchased these canisters of powdered lye and ritually poured some down their drains. Oh, it cleaned out the clogs, alright, but it did much more than that ... it has kept plumbers busy over the years replacing pipes that have been eaten through by the harsh chemical. Nowadays, drain cleaning products boldly display the statement, "WILL NOT HARM PIPES", on the front of the label because too many people are rightfully cautious about the damage that has been caused in the past.
Maybe there should be some sort of labeling on religious cleansing practices as well. Wouldn't you think twice if you were told to try something that says, "HABIT FORMING"? How about, "HAS SERIOUS SIDE-EFFECTS"? Somehow, I think that most of us would stay away from a ritual that claims, "THIS MAY KILL YOU, BUT ITS A GOOD KIND OF PAIN!". And this is exactly why a product would never tell us, "ONCE EVERY WEEK PUT US DOWN YOUR DRAIN, EVERY FEW YEARS REPLACE YOUR PIPES AGAIN"!
The need to feel clean is not something that a religion made up, it is within each of us. You and I do what seems to work for us. It may be a technique that numbs us to the pain, or it may be a ritual that gives us a sense of purification. Either way, we gravitate towrd that which offers us some kind of relief from a bad conscience.
Whether it is a child that has disobeyed his father, or a murderer on his deathbed, confession has played a major role in the process of relieving the guilty soul. And it is this pragmatic reasoning ("if it works, it's true") that has influenced and reinterpreted the concept of confession as spoken by the followers of Jesus. For whether you consider the highly ritualized confession of the Roman church or the simple rite as found in the Protestant persuasion, most find themselves focused on the act of "getting it out in the open before God". If this is truly the desired result we really don't need the "Christian" perspective ... unless, of course, we believe that real deliverance is found in all the trappings that surround the ritual!
There is in reality only one verse in the whole New Testament writings that connects confession of sin with cleansing. If verses were checkout registers, this one has a line that wraps around the store! Kinda strange for one of the foundational practices of the church, don't you think? If you read the words of this verse by themselves you will probably come to the same conclusion that most religious organizations have. I encourage you to look at this, and ask yourself some simple questions. Am I forcing this to fit my own faulty practices and beliefs of confession? Could the meaning of this verse take on a different slant if I understood the rest of what this guy was talking about? If this really means what they say it means, then why didn't any of the other guys write about it? The verse is 1 John 1:9. Look it up.
Now, I would not encourage anyone to not confess. There is a healing that can take place, but most of the time we look no farther than the simple relief ... just as when we watch the water go down the drain. We are not aware, nor are we really concerned that the pipes are being corroded at the same time.
There are products out (and have been for some time) that clean the drains in a totally different way (the company of the above slogan recently got on the bandwagon). The dissimilarity is not simply that it is gentle on pipes, for there are many that are mild. What I refer to is an enzyme-based cleaner. When this powder hits the water it becomes alive. The clog is not just removed, but the rest of the sludge that has built up gradually gets eaten up by these little living things.
I'm not trying to sell you on anything here, but to present a simple picture. Something that is dead becomes alive, and it is this life that keeps the drains clean without destroying them in the process!