Jon Walker in his book, In Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Classic Work:  Life Together writes in chapter 35 about the dangers of confession. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote…

Only the person who has so humbled himself can hear a brother’s confession without harm.

Walker writes that The Big Idea of the chapter is…

And we’re not qualified to hear the confessions of others of special insight or training or unique spiritual training on our part. We’re qualified to hear each other’s confessions because we are sinners who know sin and its destructive power, and we now know Jesus and his redemptive power.

Walker added:

Bonhoeffer says there are two dangers to watch for as our community practices biblical confession.

First, we should never designate one person as the only person to hear confessions. Confession isn’t about setting up some special, spiritual leader who acts as a mediator between God and us. Jesus is already our mediator and he paid a bloody price so that we could have a direct and intimate relationship with the Father. 

…Second, we should guard against turning confession into a pious work. In other words, we don’t confess to impress. We don’t confess in order to appear spiritual. 

…Jesus is…The blood of Jesus purifies us from every every sin and brings us into fellowship with him.

To be like Jesus…Because we are in fellowship with Jesus, we are authorized to help bring one another into the light, where God purifies us from our wrong doing and where we can “have fellowship with one another.” 

(Jon WalkerIn Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Classic Work: Life Together, Chapter 35)

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