No one likes to admit that they made a mistake. Part of the issue is that by confessing we are admitting that we have flaws. Everyone knows that no one is perfect, but it is hard to admit that truth about yourself.
When we make a mistake we tend to hide it as best as we can. We think up excuses and find things to blame so we can say, “It really wasn’t my fault.”
This weakness in human character can be traced all the way to the beginning when Adam blamed Eve for his sin and Eve in turn blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:11-13).
This human trait is toxic. Not only is it a deception (not only to other people, but often to ourselves) it also prohibits confession and forgiveness from taking place. When we are unable to confess our guilt or when we are not given the opportunity to forgive someone, then the relationship is damaged.
Many of us are carrying around the baggage of guilt, shame, and regret because we have not been able to turn to God and confess the sin that is present in our lives. We try to go through the motions of having a relationship with God, but that relationship is broken because or our reluctance to confess our sins and seek God’s forgiveness.
The reason I struggle with confessing my sin is because I constantly think I should be stronger or smarter than I am. I feel like Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones when talking to Padme about his anger when he slaughtered the village of Sand People:
Padme: To be angry is to be human.
Anakin: I’m a Jedi. I can be better than this.
I often tell myself: “I am a Christian. I can be better than this.” My resolve when I sin is to try to be stronger, smarter, or more self-disciplined in the future so I don’t make the same mistake.
This type of thinking results in trying to manage my sin and fix myself, rather than turning to God for help. Though I know in my mind this isn’t true, in my heart I believe that I have to earn God’s approval, and that means cleaning myself up before I go to Him.
Here is the problem: I can stop sinning this very moment and never sin again, but that doesn’t repair my relationship with God. The only way I can have a relationship with God is to go to Him. My relationship with God will never be what it is meant to be if I don’t confess and ask for forgiveness .
In his book Created to be God’s Friend, Henry Blackaby wrote:
When a child of God sins, what he does next will reveal his heart-relationship with God! Faith in God always returns a person to God for forgiveness. Faith always trusts and obeys.” (pp. 88-89)
What does it say about my relationship with God if I seek to manage my sin and to clean myself up before I come to Him?
It says that I don’t trust God to forgive my sins. The image I have of God when I sin is one of anger. Since my fear of God trumps my trust of God I seek to work on my sin in private and avoid God as much as I can. This behavior destroys my relationship with God. A healthy relationship cannot exist if we avoid the other person.
To confess our sins and seek God’s forgiveness requires that we trust God to be gracious towards us. This is why confession is an act of faith. When we confess our sins to God we are saying: “God, I trust you to love me and do what is best for me.”
One of the great desires of my heart is to have relationship with my children. I want them to know that I love them and that I will be there for them no matter what. How can I develop that type relationship with them? I can only develop that relationship with them by being active in their lives, helping them, teaching them, playing with them, and forgiving them. For my children to learn that I value our relationship, I must sacrifice and make it a priority.
The question needs to be asked: How can we know that God values a relationship with us?
The writer of the book of Hebrews gave us this gem of truth:
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16; ESV)
We trust God because of Jesus. Jesus is the evidence that shows us that God desires to have a relationship with us. God sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins so our relationship with God can be restored.
Too often when I come to God in confession I come unwillingly and in fear. I don’t trust that God has my best interest at heart and I fear the punishment that I will receive.
The writer of Hebrews wrote that our attitude should be totally different. We are to approach the throne of God in confidence. This confidence doesn’t come from our actions, but comes from Jesus. We come in confidence knowing that God is loving and trusting that God will be merciful and gracious towards us.
How we respond to the sin in our lives reveal what we believe about God. Come to God in confidence, because you trust that He will forgive you.