Tag: confession

Confession to God

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Adam stood before the Lord guilty of breaking God’s one rule of the garden, he had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam’s explanation? “The woman you gave to be with me gave me the fruit, and so I ate.”

David was confronted by Nathan the prophet after having an affair with the wife of one of his best soldiers before having that soldier killed to cover his sin. David’s response to being confronted with his sin? “Against thee, thee only have I sinned: and done this evil in thy sight…. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51)

Which of these two men from the Old Testament offered God a true confession? If you answered David, you would be correct.

As we discussed in our previous post on confession, confession moves beyond an acknowledgement of one’s own action and admits fault, being transparent in one’s motivations and belief and placing one’s self at the mercy of another. Our previous exploration of the topic of confession was framed in the context of confessing our faults and struggles to each other, so that we can pray for one another, minister to one another, and be healed.

In this post, we will discover how this level of confession toward God not only brings forgiveness of sin, but also brings reconciliation to God and healing from the sin that has plagued one’s life. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

According to 1 John, confession is the key that unlocks God’s forgiveness, cleansing, and thus healing. Denying sin, downplaying sin, or acknowledging the action without confessing that it is sin leads to a life marked by continued darkness, isolation and destruction. To deny sin is to call God a liar, which is the ultimate blasphemy, since lies are the hallmark of Satan.

Confession to God is made through one’s own prayer life, and while one may choose to confess their sin to their pastor, one has not truly confessed to God until one has approached God directly in prayer.

One of the great examples of confession in the Bible is the afore-mentioned Psalm 51. In it, David goes beyond confessing to his sins of adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband. In fact, he does not even mention it. Rather, he focuses his confession on the very darkness within his own soul, and within his own heart that led to the sin.

In essence, David’s confession was not about the action, but rather the heart that birthed the action. His confession is like bypassing the symptoms in order to treat the disease itself.

In his Psalm 51 confession, David mentions that he is, at his core, a sinner. He then pleads with God to cleanse him, to create in him a clean heart, and to restore the joy of his salvation while restoring the fellowship he and God once enjoyed.

This level of confession is the mark of true repentance, to which God responds every time.

Another great example of confession in the Bible is Paul’s confession in Romans 7:15-25, where Paul confesses that no good thing dwells within him, therefore he is predisposed to rebelling against God’s law and leadership in his life. His confession is that he needs Christ to rescue him from the body of that death and to enable him to serve the Lord (Romans 7:24-25).

In Paul’s confession, we see the sinner move beyond confession and repentance and toward faith, as Paul’s only option is to trust the Lord.

Most people live life defeated. We sin, we face the consequence of sin, we promise God to never do that sin again if he will rescue us from the consequence, and then we go on and sin again. In this vicious cycle, we never confess what’s truly in our heart. In fact, we often deny it.

Furthermore, we never stop to consider the sin within our heart, and what it would take to be cleansed from that sin, if we even desire cleansing at all.

By stopping, assessing the sin within us, and confessing that sin to God, we can not only identify the cause of our destructive behavior, we can truly turn from it and allow God to heal that brokenness within us. Anything short of this is an exercise in futility.

With all this in mind, what will you confess to God today?


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Depending on your backstory or world view, the word “confession” can conjure up a variety of mental images and impressions. For example, if you are Catholic, then confession is a sacrament where you confess your sins to the priest who then intercedes on your behalf and proclaims that your sins have been forgiven.

If you are in law enforcement, then a confession is something you hope to obtain from your suspect to facilitate his prosecution.

Yet, for others, confession is an admission of guilt, an admission that they were wrong.

James 5:16 says “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” For my entire life, I thought this verse told me to confess to my brothers and sisters at church the sins that I had committed, and the temptations I had struggled with. If I shared my dirty laundry, and they shared theirs, we could all pray for each other and we’d find healing.

While that may be a good practice, it is highly unlikely. We fear being judged and marginalized by others, and that level of confession opened us up for both. In my experience, in church groups, or Bible studies, we tend to keep our confessions small (I violated my diet this week) in order to show imperfection without opening ourselves up for criticism. The problem is that this lack of transparency not only hinders the healing effect of praying for each other in faith, but it also falls way short of the healing and fellowship (dare I say Spiritual intimacy) that God intended for us.

James 5:16 does not tell us to confess everything we did wrong last week. It told us to confess our faults. In essence, we are to confess our weaknesses, struggles, and whether our faith is wavering, and why our faith may be wavering.

This level of confession is basically a total transparency with your brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s a transparency that is rare for the same reason we do not truly confess our sins to others. We lack trust in each other and we fear being judged by others.

Yet, it is this level of transparency that is completely necessary to heal. As a pastor and a chaplain, I cannot truly help you if I do not know what your real struggle is. I cannot truly pray for you if I do not truly understand what is distressing you.

Therefore, I ask my congregants and patients to be completely transparent with me, no matter how bad their confession may sound. (I often add that there is almost no chance that anything they say can catch me by surprise or draw my disgust).

If they are angry with God, I need to know. Then we can work to uncover the cause of that anger and pray it over. If they are struggling with sexual sin, I need to know, so that I can pray for them, but also so that I can refer them to resources that will help them overcome temptation. If they cannot understand how God would allow them to suffer, and so they are questioning His very existence, I need to know, so that I can take them to the scriptures that will explain it and offer them comfort.

And, in some cases, it is entirely necessary and appropriate for me to refer them to a competent, licensed professional counselor. But I cannot make that determination if I do not know their struggle.

Therefore, I ask, “What is your struggle? What is your fault? What do you need to confess today?”

I don’t ask to condemn. I ask so I can assess and help.

Confession is about transparency, and transparency is about identifying the problem so you can find healing. That healing is accessed by prayer, and that healing comes from God.

So, find a few brothers or sisters in Christ. Find your pastor. Confess your faults to each other. Be transparent. And pray for each other. You will find that God will indeed heal you.