Confession is good for the soul, but bad for the reputation. My Dad used to say that as a one-liner to introduce some type of vulnerable moment from his life. Confession is also a habit that is required to live the forgiven life. Confession to God, the forgiver of our sins is of course of utmost importance. Israel’s greatest King, David, after his affair and covered-up murder, writes in Psalm 51, “I know my transgression and my sin is always before me. Against You and You only have I sinned.” David had obviously sinned with Bathsheeba (and a pretty good argument about sinning against her as well), and sinned against Uriah. However, it is God who is able to restore, forgive, and reconcile. I John tells us that if we “confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
At the same time, it is incredibly important for us to find someone on earth to confess our sins to. If we are not fully known, if our sins are not exposed to the light of day, then darkness and hiddenness will reign in our souls. That creates an ecosystem where sin will crouch at our door and be ready to pounce when we least expect it. Sin demands to have a person by him or herself. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him or her, and the more deeply he or she becomes involved in it. Sin wants to remain unknown. This is again from 1 John – “If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth” (1 John 1:6). James, the half-brother of Jesus, reminds us to “Confess to one another our sins” (James 5:16). Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes about confession in his classic work Life Together. Bonhoeffer writes, “A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins everything remains in the dark, but in the presence of a brother the sin has been brought into the light.” Let’s not hide in the dark. Let’s build the good habits of the life of forgiveness together. Find someone who can truly know you, and who can stand and say “You are forgiven!”