Frederick Schmidt: On Confessing the Sins of Others


Confessing the sins of others is an addictive practice.

It feeds self-righteous certainty. It simplifies life's complex demands. It elicits confirmation from those who share our views. It spares us the effort associated with thinking and reasoning carefully. Above all, it insulates us from the painful process of self-examination.

This is why Jesus urged us to consider the log in our own eye, before contemplating the speck in someone else's eye. It is also why, as First Peter puts it, judgment begins in the household of God.

Both admonitions register the great grace that we have been given; the frailty, failing and resistance that lead us into ever deeper dependence upon God's grace; and the spiritual peril that lies in confessing the sins of others.

God give us the spiritual rigor to examine our own lives first -

the humility to grapple with our own failings in thought, word, and deed -

the capacity for self-examination that is the key to freedom and an antidote to hypocrisy -

the charity of mind and heart toward others, born of lives in touch with own frailty -

and the creative, hopeful energy that rises from confidence in your grace -

for us and for one another.


From Frederick's blog at