Confess your sins to one another
I returned home from work, a little late as usual, and while my wife and I were preparing to sit down for dinner we began to share the events of our day. This is a typical occurrence in our home as an attempt to connect during our busy lives. It is a time that we try to keep sacred, but even so it doesn’t always pan out the way we would like it to. This particular day was a little harder than normal for my wife and she was feeling some weight and anxiety over certain things going on. Because I am such a smart and spiritual individual (see: sarcasm) I gave her some correcting truisms with a tone that carried annoyance that she would let herself have a bad day, even to the point of letting it affect me. I hope you can catch what was happening here. I was so full of self-righteous pride you could pop me with a pencil.
Before we continue, I need to say that this actually isn’t suppose to be an article on marriage. It’s on confession: a reflection on the gospel. As I took a slow walk on my own that night and was able to ponder the obvious error of my ways, my thoughts were directed to 1 John 1:8-9, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As well as James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” The explicit assumption in these verses is that Christians have sins to confess. Why are Christians told to confess? Per these verses, we confess so that our sins are forgiven and cleansed, and so that we may be healed.
The glorious conclusion that brought peace and joy as I finished my walk was that, while Christ died once and for all for all my sins, my confession to God intentionally placed them there on the cross and my conscience was cleansed from guilt. After my walk I was almost excited to confess my sin to my wife because I was thrilled to exalt the cross of Christ. In no way does a confession downplay the seriousness of sin, it legitimizes it by putting it where it belongs: on that instrument of God’s judgment, the cross of Christ. Because she has committed to reflect the grace of the gospel in our marriage, she received my apology and confession, and our relationship has been restored (YAY!).
To wrap up, consider with me two prominent Bible characters. Both of them were proud Israelites, zealous for the glory of their country. Both were numbered with God’s people. Both were even considered shepherds of the people. And both of them committed heinous sins. They were murderers. They are King David and Judas Iscariot. One we hold in high esteem while the other is universally reviled. Why is this? Judas threw the money he had earned as a betrayer back into the temple, seeming to show sorrow for his actions. But you see, we don’t confess our sins to feel bad about them and try to do better next time. (Apparently Judas had no hope of doing better and killed himself.) It is simply a reminder that God has a way of dealing with them justly, while sparing your life. David didn’t know how, but with his broken and contrite heart he trusted that God would cover his transgressions (Psalm 32). Unlike David, we know how God deals with sin. We know that God judges sin to the full extent of the law. The question is, who will receive the punishment. Please, confess your myriad of sins and unload them where they are justly condemned, and enjoy your good and gracious God.