“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
“The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.”
Call it a cultural thing, or societal, generational or even part of the natural human condition. But people generally don’t like admitting they’ve done anything wrong. Usually confessions are actually celebrating bad behavior such as in a made-for-TV movie or a “tell-all” book. However, there is great power and freedom in confessing your guilt and admitting your need for forgiveness.
The mother of a murdered child forgiving the man that pulled the trigger.
A pastor stepping down from his position and stepping up to admit his need for counseling.
A parent asking a child for forgiveness for wrong doing.
Being the first to make contact after years of not speaking to someone.
When it comes to our spiritual life, the Bible says that if we confess our sins before God he forgives us. He is a just God that demands holiness yet we don’t have to fear confessing our sins before a holy God. John 3:17 tells us:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Confessing sin frees us from guilt, from shame and from the trap of counting rights and wrongs and hoping the good outweighs the bad. The Bible tells us not only to confess to God, but also “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
Every week at my church, we read a confession together out loud. I think this is one of the most important and powerful aspects of our weekly worship. Sometimes as I’m praying the words displayed on the screen I wish that skeptics and people burned by church would be there to witness it. We confess that we don’t show the love of Christ to people like we should, that we judge people or treat them unfairly, that we let our anger or bitterness get the best of us, and other things that are openly admitting we’re fail as followers of Christ and as the Church.
People usually say they stay away from church because of hypocrites who don’t practice what they preach or have a “holier than thou” judgmental attitude toward others. I wish those people would hear the Church confess these things and see humble people admitting they fall short but strive to do better with God’s grace. Now imagine we had a humble spirit and confessed to people in our lives that way. Imagine the impact it might have on people.
Confession frees you from guilt, builds accountability with close friends and family and can even be a powerful witness tool to share the Gospel.