Psalm 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord”—
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
This Psalm has several dearly-loved passages in it, and I really wondered what I was to write on. I almost wrote on the first two verses, but then realized that what I would write about is expressed more explicitly here. Protestants don’t hold Confession as a sacrament, but that doesn’t mean confessing our sins to God isn’t important. Whether another human being is present at that confession is a minor point; the important thing is honesty before God. (Verse 2 closes with, “and in whose spirit is no deceit.”) Our attitude here is of the utmost importance. Saying, “I did it and I’m glad” isn’t the way to get forgiven! Some celebrities have made something of a career of that sort of thing, but it certainly does them no good before God. As David says here, the whole point is in acknowledging that we have committed sin against God, not just “made a mistake,” and saying we’re sorry, with the honest desire not to do it again. As David says elsewhere, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14) We cannot surprise or shock God. The only logical course is to be completely open before Him, so that He can show us what we have done.
I had the huge blessing of being raised by a man who took absolute honesty as one of his guiding principles. That, plus the logical realization that it’s pretty silly to think I can hide anything from God, has made confession relatively easy for me. I sometimes tend to say too much! I have also done some real damage by saying true things about others that they didn’t want out in the open. There was no malice on my part, but Japanese culture is big on “public face” and “true intentions.” All too often, they are at complete odds! That makes it all the more important, and remarkable, that my father held so firmly to absolute honesty, when he lived and ministered in Japan. I won’t say he didn’t have any enemies, but I’ve never met anyone who didn’t hold him in high respect. How people feel about me is of relatively minor importance, but I don’t want ever to try to hide anything from God. I do slip up, and I want to be instantly responsive anytime the Holy Spirit points something out to me. “Confession is good for the soul” is far more than a platitude!
Father, You know me far better than I do. Help me repent of everything not pleasing to You, but not pick at myself about things Your Holy Spirit isn’t shining light on. Help me distinguish clearly between Your voice and that of the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10) so that I may walk in the peace and assurance of my place in Christ, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!