“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13).
When we look to God for mercy, the steps He requires of us are simple yet reasonable. While He could require us to do some grand or awful thing in order to win His favor and prove that we are sorry, but that is not in His nature. He does not require us to travel to some far land, or do some painful self-punishment to offset our sins, but instead He tells us that all we must do is confess and reject our sins and He will give us mercy.
We read, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16). When we confess our sins to God, who is the only one who can truly forgive them, and we admit our weaknesses to each other, then we are able to ask for forgiveness. If we have hurt someone close to us—perhaps a friend or neighbor—we must acknowledge what we did as being wrong, and ask for forgiveness. By asking for genuine forgiveness, you place yourself at their mercy, and it is their duty to forgive you.
After asking for forgiveness from those whom you have wronged, you must seek forgiveness from God, because the person who you wronged is a very special person to God and by hurting that person, you also have hurt the One who created them—and the One who has redeemed them. Our case is brought before God, specifically to Jesus who, “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same [tests] we do, yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15). By overcoming sin, He is able to cleanse us from sin.
However, there are those who come before God who haven’t humbled their hearts by admitting they have sinned, and they have failed to meet the first condition of acceptance by God. In the last section, we talked about the true nature of repentance, how it is humbly repenting and turning away from our sins, never to return to them, and truly repenting from our sins must be the first step we take when we ask for the forgiveness from our sins. If we don’t have God’s peace in our hearts, then we may be neglecting this key point.
When we confess our sins—meaning that we share the ways we have messed up to others—the confession must genuinely come from the heart. Confession must not be viewed lightly, because true confession with a genuine spirit opens the heart up to God. We cannot force true confession, because those who don’t realize and reject the sin in their lives are not able to see their sin as it truly is. The true confession is always heard by God and it always receives mercy. We read in the Psalms that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18).
True confession will always recognize specific sins. Whether the sin and confession is between an individual and God, or whether the sin and confession is a private matter between two people, or whether the sin and confession is a public matter that must be publicly addressed and confessed, all true confessions will be specific, clear, and direct when admitting to the sins that are being confessed.
In the Old Testament, during Samuel’s lifetime, the Israelites drifted away from God. They lost their faith in God, lost their ability to recognize His wisdom and guidance for their nation, and they lost their confidence in Him that He cared about their lives. Because of this, they chose instead to model a government after the nations around them—a style of government that has a King and his subjects. When they realized they were wrong to follow this path, and before they realized peace as a nation, they made this definite confession: “For now we have added to our sins by asking for a king.” (1 Samuel 12:19). They confessed and acknowledged the specific sin they were guilty of.
Next week we will conclude our discussion about Confession and continue learning how we can strengthen our spiritual lives by Growing with Jesus!
P.S. As always, if I missed something, or if you would like to respond on this topic, join the conversation below!