“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Psalm 32:1–2
When a sin is unconfessed and unforgiven it seems to never goes away. There always seems to be a reminder of that mistake or infraction popping up at unexpected times and you’re never allowed to forget it and move on.
I remember one time I made a mistake, it was no big deal, no one was hurt, no one was out any money, but I was embarrassed and I lied about what had happened. It seemed like every few months for the next several years someone would bring up that incident and I would have to confirm some part of the lie I’d told, which made me a liar all over again. That unconfessed mistake and lie seemed to have immortality. It just wouldn’t die and passed into the sea of forgetfulness.
By contrast there was another accident I had where people were hurt, I was hospitalized, and there was a financial loss for multiple people. I didn’t make any attempt to cover up any part of the accident and, while I’ve never forgotten what happened, there hasn’t been near the pain and frustration over it. For the most part other people don’t bring it up. I’m the one that tells the story when it gets told and I haven’t had to carry around years of guilt over it.
What was the main difference between the two events as regards to my experience with guilt? The one that was confessed most quickly had the least amount of guilt and the shortest path to healing.
David talks about confession’s contribution to the freedom of forgiveness in Psalm 32. He begins the psalm by effusively proclaiming the benefits of being forgiven and the follows with a description of the internal torment he felt during the time when he attempt to hide his sin. But as soon as he determined to confess his sin to God, as soon has he stopped hiding his transgression behind a veil of deceit, freedom came and that internal torment was gone.
David ends his psalm by counseling us to not be like a horse that has to be bridled and guided or led in order to get where it needs to go. Instead let’s be teachable and gain understanding and then use the knowledge we have. When it comes to confession and forgiveness the wicked have many sorrows because they try to hide their sins, but those who trust in the Lord have mercy because they’re quick to come to God and don’t hide their sins from him.
Thank you God for being a God of great forgiveness. Wash my fears and embarrassment away in the knowledge of your love and mercy and make me humble and willing to quickly come to you in confession when I do wrong.