The dark of night is when I confess my sins. It’s usually around 3am when I can’t sleep and my pillow feels like a rock beneath my head. “Please, Lord, forgive me for being selfish and impatient with those I love.”
The problem with this is it only happens every couple of weeks; only when I can’t fall back asleep.
I do throw out an occasional “I’m sorry” here and there, feeling especially repentant after a particular fight with my spouse. But other than that, confession is not a daily part of my life. I’ll admit it.
I know it should be.
My faith journey began in a parachurch organization where I learned how to open my Bible, grab a journal, close my eyes and thank God, but I must’ve slept through the messages about confession.
Even now, as I write about these words: “the discipline of confession”, my eyes glaze over.
Well, here’s a wake up call if you’re like me.
The more we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, the closer we are to God.
Sometimes I feel really far from God. Often, during those times, I’m left wondering what I need to do be closer to him, or why God seems to have “abandoned me.” I make it much harder and more complicated than it is.
Simple confession brings me right back to closeness with God.
It’s not sexy, sorry.
Admitting wrongdoing is never easy. But it’s so liberating.
Think about a scenario of your boyfriend or girlfriend wronging you. Let’s pretend that your significant other forgot about the anniversary dinner that you’ve booked in advance and left you waiting at the door of the restaurant. Then the next day, he or she pretended everything was okay without even mentioning the offense. Ouch. That wouldn’t be so great for the relationship.
Insert an apology from that special one, and voila! You’re back in action.
That’s what happens with our relationship with God when we continue pretending that our wrongdoings are just fine, or that they don’t exist, or that God just knows about them and forgives us.
The truth is he does know and he does forgive like a parent with a child, but admitting the wrongdoing and asking for forgiveness is important. It changes the relationship profoundly.
I feel particularly akin to King David. I tend to think we have quite a bit in common—bloody battles and majestic royalty aside, he was a very emotional and creative man. The Psalmist danced; he sang; and he cried. That’s pretty much my daily routine.
Another thing David did well—he confessed. He noticed when God felt far away from him and he MOURNED his sins. He tore his clothing and stopped his life to confess before he dared to continue his life with a gap between him and God.
In the Psalms, David reminds us that it’s important to understand the sheer weight of sin. We’re fortunate to live in a time where we no longer have to sacrifice innocent animals as atonement for our sins. However, there was a time, before Christ, when forgiveness of sins required blood. We forget that. In turn we forget the impact of Christ sacrificing his blood so we can be forgiven.
I’ve been a Christian for a long time. The talk of Christ’s death and resurrection often emerge in Sunday sermons, in Bible studies, discipleship classes, and of course, Good Fridays and Easter Sundays. Sadly, this message has become a white noise that I often forget to acknowledge its magnitude.
While I can say that I don’t confess my sins because I’m a lazy or undisciplined person, the truth is that I don’t recognize the weight of my sin and the significance of Christ’s atonement for it. This puts a gap between God and I.
The act of confession can seem simple but it packs a punch and it brings us right back to closeness with God.
I encourage you to meditate on this verse, visualizing the sacrifice that God has made for you and the weight of your sin. Now ask yourself where and how you can insert confession into your daily life.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Then consider praying a prayer such as this one:
Lord, you are a good and loving God.
Thank you for your gift of Jesus Christ and the gift of grace that I receive daily.
I am sorry for ________________________________. Thank you for forgiving me.
Please give me a heart of repentance and help me to turn from these things in the future. Amen.