Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Confession is good for the soul.

I recently read this story which makes a good point. Four preachers met for a friendly gathering. During the conversation one preacher said, “Our people come to us and pour out their hearts, confess sins and needs. Let’s do the same. Confession is good for the soul.” In due time all agreed. One confessed he liked to go to R-rated movies. He knew it was wrong but went anyway. The second confessed to liking to smoke cigars. The third said that he liked to gamble and play cards. When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn’t confess. The others pressed him saying, “Come on now, we confessed ours vices, so what’s yours?” He resisted for a while but finally confessed, “I like to gossip and I can’t wait to get out of here and tell everyone what you guys just said.”
It’s a funny story, isn’t it? Yet it reveals a truth about us that is not so funny. The truth is that we are all sinners. Every single one of us sins in one way or another. We have sins that are evident to others and those that aren’t. Aren’t we all ready to admit this truth? That doesn’t stop us, however, from trying to find an excuse for our sin. We want, in some way, to excuse our selves from responsibility for the sins we commit.
Over the years I have done quite a bit of marriage counseling. The couples begin to talk about the problems they are having and then it starts – “The blame game.” Each will confess that they have done something wrong. “I know I lose my temper but…..” “I know that I am not working as hard on my marriage as I should. I would if my spouse…” “I want to change but…” Then comes the excuse. “I would if my spouse wasn’t so ……” “I would if I they would listen to me.” 
What’s the common denominator here? There is the confession of sin, of failing to do what should be done. Then comes the excuse which is given to relieve them from responsibility. “I would do it if…” In other words – “It’s not my fault.” Not a very good confession as far as I am concerned.
How often haven’t you heard some politician, movie star, or pop singer, come on TV and make a confession. Maybe they’ve gotten a DWI, made racial comments, or visited a prostitute. They appear on TV to do ‘damage control.’ “I’m sorry,” they say, “for hurting my family,” “for disappointing my fans,” “for letting down my supporters.” It sounds good but there is no real confession of wrong doing, no admission that what they did was wrong, only that it hurt others.
God wants our confession to be sincere, to accept responsibility for our actions, and make no excuses. We are sinners. Admit it. Then ask God for his forgiveness. God’s already told us we have it. When Jesus went to the cross, he was punished in our place and died for our sins. For his sake, God has forgiven our sins. They are forgiven. 
Listen to what the Apostle John says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:8, 9).