Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. (Prov. 28:13)
Both David and Solomon (Psalms and Proverbs) knew long ago what modern psychology has confirmed. Suppressed guilt produces serious side effects. The psalmist’s spiritual struggles resulted in physical symptoms (Ps. 32:3-4). Unconfessed sin is hard on us.
But confession is hard too. It’s one thing to confess our sins to God. This, of course, is the place to begin. But we may also need to go on with James’ directive to confess to one another—perhaps to a trusted pastor or counselor, an accountability partner, a spouse, or a victim. That’s when it gets really hard. It’s embarrassing to own up to the wicked or foolish things we have done, thought, and said. It’s also possible that acknowledging our sins will have real consequences for us relationally or even legally. No matter how much carrying guilt may hurt, it often seems like keeping silent (Ps. 32:3) or covering up our iniquity (v. 5) is the easier option.
Except that confession is the only way to find forgiveness (v. 5). As long as we cover up rather than confess, guilt just keeps gnawing away inside. Oh, and there’s one more thing we must do. The person who confesses and forsakes their sins will find mercy: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light . . . the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). —David Bast
As you pray, spend time in confession. Is there someone you need to talk to?
About the Author
Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.