(From our church-wide devotion book at Pinedale Christian Church, "You 2.0â€)
Dave was tired of the lies. He had been keeping the secret about what he had done for what felt like an eternity. The truth was eating him up, but if he told the people around him, theyâ€™d never look at him the same again. They wouldnâ€™t understand. No, he had to carry it to his grave.
Have you ever felt that way? You made a single wrong choice, and youâ€™re sure your life would end if those around you found out. Or maybe youâ€™ve continued to struggle with a particular sin, and you know that if your friends learned about it, theyâ€™d never see you the same way. Youâ€™re not alone; King David felt the same.
Arguably, Davidâ€™s sin was â€œworseâ€ than yours, at least in the worldâ€™s eyes. He slept with an impregnated Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his most loyal men. To make matters worse, he tried to cover it up by having Uriah return from the front lines to sleep with Bathsheba, so it looked like the child was his rather than Davidâ€™s. When that didnâ€™t work, he wrote a note to the commanding officer at the front line directing him to make sure Uriah, whom he had DELIVER the sealed message, would be killed by the enemy. After Uriahâ€™s death, he married Bathsheba and didnâ€™t mention what he had done to anyone. It was the perfect crime... or so he thought...Â
Sometime after the baby was born, the prophet Nathan came to see David and confronted him directly. Faced with his sin, David finally confessed. In truth, however, this was probably a relief to David. In Psalm 32, which theologians generally believe was written soon after these events, David says, â€œWhen I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.â€ (Psalm 32:3-4)Â
You can probably relate. Unconfessed sin is a cancer; it will fester and drag you down like an anchor. The only cure is to cut it out with the scalpel of confession, both to God and our brothers or sisters in Christ.Â As crazy as it sounds, confessing to God may seem easier than confessing to people. You know He already knows, so itâ€™s easy to confess what youâ€™ve done. However, the Bible makes it clear that itâ€™s just as important to confess to someone else, such as an accountability partner, a spouse, or some other trusted follower of Christ.Â
James 5:16 says to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another so that we may be healed. While confession to God covers the forgiveness for our sins, confessing to each other helps us to heal and truly forsake them. The enemy will fight this; he will try to convince you that you will be ostracized, and no one else struggles like you. This is a blatant lie.Â
First, you are not alone; there are many others who have struggled with the exact same sin and overcome it through the power of Christ. Second, rather than separating you from the community of believers, confession actually draws you CLOSER to them.Â Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, â€œIn confession there takes place a breakthrough to community. Sin wants to be alone with people. It takes them away from the community. The more lonely people become, the more destructive the power of sin over them... Since the confession of sin is made in the presence of another Christian, the last stronghold of self-justification is abandoned. The sinner surrenders, giving up all evil, giving the sinnerâ€™s heart to God and finding the forgiveness of all oneâ€™s sin in the community of Jesus Christ and other Christians. Sin that has been spoken and confessed has lost all of its power. It has been revealed and judged as sin. It can no longer tear apart the community.â€Â
So, how do you take advantage of this powerful tool of confession? First, get on your knees and talk about it bluntly with your Father in heaven. Ask him for forgiveness and for the strength to break away. Then, find a brother or sister in Christ whom you respect and tell them about it. Donâ€™t hold back; if you want to cut out the cancer, you must completely confess. When you first start sharing, it will be like breaking through a brick wall, but once you start exposing the sin to the light, it will lose its power, and it will get easier. The sin will lose its stranglehold. It may be tough at first, but you wonâ€™t regret adding confession to your spiritual tool belt.
Â â€œWhy Serious Preachers Use Humor,â€ The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching (Zondervan, 2005)Â
Pastor and author John Ortberg shares this humorous story that pointedly conveys the truth about human nature.Â Many years ago, early on in our marriage, my wife and I sold our Volkswagen Beetle to buy our first really nice piece of furniture. It was a sofa.Â It was a pink sofa, but for that kind of money, it was called a mauve sofa. The man at the sofa store told us all about how to take care of it, and we took it home.