Limited Confessions Are Limited

According to this story in the New York Times, Lance Armstrong is going to give an interview to Oprah Winfrey regarding the doping allegations against him.  Sources say Armstrong will give a limited confession.

Confession is difficult, as i wrote about here.

But limited confession is rather easy, which is why it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.

Armstrong certainly has plenty of reasons to limit himself as to what he will admit about doping during his years competing in the Tour de France.  There are myriad legal reasons why we would not come clean fully.


And it may get him what he seeks; namely, leniency from the U.S. Anti Doping Agency, which would allow him to compete in various athletic events from which he is currently banned.

But limited confession will never do for those of us in the grip of an addiction.  i know, because for years i tried that route.

i would admit some aspects of my heavy use of pornography and my chronic lustfulness.  i would let some people in on my “struggle,” but i always hid the worst and darkest truth about what i was doing.  Some of my limited admission was calculated, and some of it was simply the result of deep self-deception which comes when anyone repeatedly indulges a sin pattern.

Limited confessions bring, well, limited growth and healing. And it could be argued limited confessions don’t bring any healing at all.  A limited confession produces a false positive in the life of the addict.  It seems that he has been open and vulnerable. It  seems he has come clean.  But the very fact that it is limited means that really the deception has deepened.  The addict is now increasing the lie rather than exposing it and confronting it with the light of Truth.

In that way, it makes matters worse.  It also means that the addict doesn’t experience full conviction or grace and the full power of God’s transformation is prevented from flowing into the addict’s life.

Coming clean must be complete.

2 Responses to “Limited Confessions Are Limited”

  1. Samantha Baker

    When my husband gave limited disclosure…we were in a false recovery. Our marriage was still being based on lies. There was no real healing taking place because it was shrouded in deception still.

    Had the limited disclosure continued, our marriage would have surely ended. I’m positive of that. Ever new disclosure set us back to the beginning, opened MORE wounds, MORE trauma. It got to the point I didn’t know how much more I could take. Had it all been disclosed in the beginning, it would have been much less traumatic. Still painful, yes, but not as traumatic as it ended up being.

    True healing absolutely did not begin for either of us until full disclosure happened. And in my heart I KNEW he was still hiding things from me. But once that full confession finally happened, it was like the flood gates opened. True healing could finally begin. Emotional intimacy between us could start to be restored. He became vulnerable with me. He could begin HIS recovery. We could begin OUR reconcilation.

    So, my point is yes, I absolutely agree. Limited disclosure is the worst substitute.


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