You’ve heard the expression, “confession is good for the soul,” but the reality is that confession is imperative to the soul.
I was listening to a sermon by Billy Graham, given in Oregon in 1992 and he made mention of a man who when faced with conviction by God of his unconfessed sins, rather than confessing them and repenting, he told God to leave him alone, and it was said of the man that his soul was dead from then on.
Today, our pastor preached a very convicting sermon on self evaluation. As a believer, the Holy Spirit works to convict us of sin, bringing it to the forefront of our minds for the purpose of us confessing it to God, and repenting, thereby walking closely to God. The other point he made was that as broad as the sin is, so broad must the confession be. If the sin is only against God, confess it to God and He will be faithful and just to forgive. If the sin is against God (as all sin is) and another person, the confession must be to God and the other person. We can’t be right with God if we aren’t right with other people.
That said, all week I’ve been convicted by the Holy Spirit for my conduct in the past, specifically regarding honesty toward my husband in telling him about my past. What I’ve come to understand is that partial obedience is still disobedience, and delayed obedience is disobedience. I had delayed obedience on confession of that sin, and told half truths in order to paint myself “less guilty.” The worst part is that my dishonesty has haunted me for nearly ten years and instead of telling the whole truth, I continued to lie to myself by letting my husband believe a (let’s call it what it is) lie.
I’ve since told my husband that I acted in deceit when he first asked me about the issue, but I haven’t felt right about it. Shame and guilt have still hung on, and I was never sure I had his forgiveness.
Feeling especially convicted this morning, I confessed to God, and then resolved to confess to my husband and seek his forgiveness.
What caught me off guard was my husband taking me aside before the Lord’s supper and confessing a sin against me from over 5 years ago. With tears in our eyes, each of us confessed and each of us forgave, right then, right there, at the alter. No questions, no anger, no resentment, no hesitation. Not because the sin wasn’t offensive or a big deal but because we both recognized how toxic unconfessed sin is, and how unworthy we both were to come before God and partake of Communion with this sin still “on the table.”
God’s grace is inexplicably given to us when we can do nothing to deserve it. God’s forgiveness is available for all who call on the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When believers live with unconfessed sin, we hold within ourselves an offense against the Holy Spirit that indwells us. There comes a time when we cross a line over which the Holy Spirit will no longer speak to us if we continually ignore God’s direction.
Years. We both had held on to guilt for years. I am nauseated when I think of what we might have accomplished in the power of Christ had we confessed and been honest from the beginning. I’m saddened by the knowledge that God wasn’t able to fully use us as He may have because of the unconfessed sin in our lives.
What I treasure is the forgiveness of my husband, as well as his honesty and vulnerability in confessing his own sin to me. Above and beyond that, I treasure the voice of God that hasn’t abandoned me even in the midst of disobedience, when like Jonah, I tried to run from God. I’m burdened by those sins I committed against people in my past whom I may never get the opportunity to seek their forgiveness. I pray that God search my heart and find it humble, broken, and contrite as I come to Him seeking forgiveness and grace.
I can only exhort that each person learn from my mistakes and take advantage of the hour of grace to become right with God and right with people.