from You Version
Psalm 32.3
1John 1.9

It’s no fun to admit we are wrong, especially when we have deeply wounded another. In a 1993 edition of Today in the Word, we find this story: 

In the washroom of his London club, British newspaper publisher and politician William Beaverbrook happened to meet Edward Heath, then a young member of Parliament, about whom Beaverbrook had printed an insulting editorial a few days earlier. “My dear chap,” said the publisher, embarrassed by the encounter. “I’ve been thinking it over, and I was wrong. Here and now, I wish to apologize.” “Very well,” grunted Heath. “But the next time, I wish you’d insult me in the washroom and apologize in your newspaper.” 

The only way for us to be right with God and others is through the hard road. Sometimes, with people, we may not receive forgiveness when we confess. But with God, that is never the case. First John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God always forgives.

The discipline of confession starts with a humble heart that wants to be forgiven. In Psalm 32:3, David said, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” We acknowledge that we fall short in who God made us to be. Sometimes, our sin seems more profound and ugly; other times, it is subtle and quiet. Both offend God. Both should bring us to our knees. We simply must seek to be right with God.

A.W. Tozer, in Knowledge of the Holy, says it like this: 

Until we have seen ourselves as God see us, we are not likely to be much disturbed over conditions around us as long as they do not get so far out of hand as to threaten our comfortable way of life. We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing.

The wondrous thing is, when we confess to God, He always forgives. Always. Just a few verses later in Psalm 32, David is moved to action: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (v. 5). In confession, we breathe a sigh of relief knowing that we are forgiven. God casts our sin as far as the east is from the west. Forgiven forever

What kind of God is this who never holds a grudge and never brings up our iniquities? It’s the God we want all to know. It’s the Prodigal Son’s Father. Having fully experienced the freedom of forgiveness, we extend extra grace and mercy to others. True confession that leads to complete forgiveness impacts everything we do and every relationship we have. The fruit of kindness and goodness and gentleness fall from our trees freely.

Finally, the discipline of confession empowers us to show & share the gospel message with those who don’t yet know Jesus. The metanarrative is overflowing with stories of God’s mercy and kindness towards those who have sinned against God. We desire all to know they are truly loved in Christ and forgiven of their wrongs. We speak of the love that captures guilt and shame forever.

Questions for Reflection: 

  • Do you find confession unnerving, or comforting? Why?
  • How has God met you during times of confession in the past?
  • In what ways can you use confession to draw near to the heart of God?
  • How do you view the role of confession in personal evangelism?

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