The following is written by Steve Strombom of the Enumclaw Church of the Nazarene:
I have few confessions to make.
First, I need to confess that I’ve messed up. I’m aiming for the middle of the road here, a practical confession. By “middle of the road,” I mean that I want to avoid the extreme of excusing myself (Hey, I only acted on natural impulses, right?), while also avoiding the other extreme of burying myself in self-condemnation (a.k.a. “I’ll never be able to get anything right!”). It’s striking how quickly these childish responses can step in to divert my path away from effective confession.
I also want to be practical, because there’s little value in a generic confession. If, under my breath, I’m adding the disclaimer “…but I’m only human,” what I’m really presenting is a defense, not a confession. I’m telling God, others and myself that I’m not serious about making any practical changes by which I could avoid doing similar damage in the future. I’m actually shoring up my right to sin, rather than separating myself from it.
Don’t follow that path. Instead, be ready to label your selfish manipulations of people and circumstances as “sin” and seek change until you have it. Be willing to humble yourself before the appropriate someone(s) and actually make your confession audible. Prepare to gear up and face off with the tendencies and temptations that led you astray in the first place, knowing that you can conquer them with God’s help. This is the pathway of transformation.
Feeling inadequate? Just turn the key of confession and the engines of heaven will come alive with all the horsepower/wingpower necessary to empower your journey forward.
Although our sin will never bring glory to God, it’s important to realize that our confession of it actually recovers a little of what was lost (read the record of Joshua’s dealings with Achan in the aftermath of the Ai disaster). When sin has interrupted the blessing(s) God intended for us, a confession makes it clear that the problem wasn’t a deficit in God’s faithfulness, but rather in ours. It’s a little like damage control for God’s reputation. What if your unconfessed sin causes someone to misunderstand the heart and intentions of God, and therefore reject the one who loves them the most? Do not allow this.
If my first confession is one of failure, my second confession has to be one of God’s provision for success. Speaking one without the other will either leave us hopeless or dishonest, depending on which one we omit. And confessing God’s provision, at its core, means confessing Jesus – not only his sacrifice to provide forgiveness, but also for the cleansing of our conscience, and the presence and empowerment of the spirit.
A third confession is one that I have to make with my life more than with my lips. Hebrews 11:13 speaks of those whose walk of faith “confessed (demonstrated) that they were strangers and pilgrims/exiles on this earth.” Put another way, they were more tied to Jesus than to the stuff of this world and it was evident to others.
If I hold to this pathway, then the final confession is not mine, but someone else’s to make. “Everyone who confesses Me, I will also confess before my Father in heaven and before the angels of God” – Matthew 10:32 & Luke 12:8.
A sweet confession indeed.