Confession That's Too Casual
Have you ever asked the Lord to forgive you of your sins, but it seemed like nothing really happened? Yeah, me too. One reason may be that our confession is too casual.
Confession is a dirty talk with God. We name the sin. We examine our motives and describe the consequences. It should be painful, tearful, awful.
We want confession that is quick and easy. Notice the extent of David's confession in Psalm 51. What would your Psalm 51 sound like? Most of the time, our Psalm 51 sounds like this, "God, forgive me of all my sins." If you want God to restore your joy, that's not going to cut it.
When we go casual with confession, it's not really a confession, it's just asking God for coverage. We meet with God, sort of like we buy insurance. We ask for coverage. They hand us a lengthy 65-page contract. We thumb through all of the monotonous legal jargon and sign the last page. Done.
And then there's a flood. There is extensive damage to your home. You call the insurance company and inform them of the claim. only They share some startling news. You're not covered. Why not? Because on page 18, the policy specified that you live in a flood plain. That's a different kind of coverage. You are angry and feel cheated. But there's your name on page 65 agreeing to the coverage and stating that you read the policy and understood it.
Why nothing changes.
So why is it we pray for forgiveness, and nothing changes? It's because we don't take time to go through the details of what sin has done to ourselves, to others, and to our relationship with God. As a result, we approach God like someone standing in the front yard of a flooded out home. We want him to cut us a check so we can rebuild, right back in the floodplain.
God's not interested in extending coverage. His interest is in restoration after real confession.
Notice how David spells out the consequences of his sin in Psalm 51. It reads like a list of damages.
- V. 3 - I know my transgressions.
- V. 7 - I am not clean.
- V. 8 - I am broken
- V. 11 - My relationship with God is in jeopardy.
- V. 12 - I have lost the joy of your salvation.
He gets what he's done to God, to himself, and to others. If we want confession that's effective, we have to make sure it's not casual, as if we are wanting cheap coverage.
The word "confess", most often translated in the Bible, has a root meaning of "an open hand." We hide nothing from God. In confession, you agree with God. It's a dirty talk indeed. But that is the conversation God wants to have with you. He wants to go through the policy page by page. God wants a list of the damages. He wants you to realize what needs to be rebuilt. This is where restoration begins.
Read Psalm 51:6-12:
- Make a list of the commands to be obeyed.
- Write the promises that are to be believed.
- List the principles that are to be applied.
Think through the sin that you want to bring before God as you desire forgiveness and restoration. Make a list of damages. What has sin done to you, to others, and to your relationship with God? Now talk to God. Describe your "why?" Why did I do it? Take some time today to confess to God and acknowledge the consequences of your sin.
Read the first two entries in this series:
- The Kryptonite of Joy
- The Joy of Personal Responsibility