When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
When it comes to political scandals, people often say, “It’s not the crime; it’s the cover-up.” In other words, the actual misdeed may not have been that big of a deal, but once the guilty party starts trying to hide what they did, they make everything worse. I suppose there is some truth in that, especially on the scales of public opinion, but when it comes to sin – and particularly, God’s view of sin – both the crime and the cover-up are equally bad.
David’s words are excruciatingly honest and reveal once again how transparent scripture is regarding the moral failings of the greatest people of faith. David not only admits that he sinned in some terrible way, but he goes on to describe his frame of mind and physical anguish as he carried the shame of his unconfessed deed. It wasn’t just that he felt bad about what he had done, but he “refused to confess.” He tried to hide his guilt and suffered the emotional, spiritual and physical consequences of his stubbornness. God’s “hand of discipline” weighed heavily on him until finally he confessed his rebellion to the Lord. As David attempted in vain to cover-up his guilt, he experienced shame. Shame happens in the soul, our spiritual heart, where we can feel God’s presence and experience deep emotions like joy, peace and sorrow. In turn, what happens in our souls can affect our physical bodies and our minds, as David “groaned” and his “body wasted away.” Shame saps our strength and sends dark clouds over every part of our lives.
That’s why we should be quick to confess our sins. Cover-ups never succeed, especially with God, who sees it all anyway. Some people wonder why we have to confess if God already knows what we have done. The Biblical truth is that confession is the first, essential step toward removing our guilt and shame. We have to acknowledge, in our own hearts and to God through prayer, what we have done and how our sin has hurt others, hurt God and hurt ourselves. Confession opens the door for God to forgive us, just as prayer unleashes God’s power to change our lives. In response to our confession, God promises to forgive and wash us clean so that our guilt is totally expunged and we no longer need to feel ashamed. David knew what a great gift God’s forgiveness is, and we understand even more fully what it cost God to take away our sin. Jesus had to die, taking our sin on himself, suffering so we don’t have to. So, confess your sin with faithful assurance in God’s grace that sets you free.
Father, You are merciful and kind. Thank You for setting me free from the burden of guilt and shame. Give me strength to confess my sins, trusting in the abundant grace of Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian