Vol.XX No.VI Pg.6
August 1983

Confession Is Hard

Robert F. Turner

"It is so hard to walk down the aisle with all those people..." Whoa! Wait a minute! You think "walking the aisle" is hard? Confessing sin — done right — is what is really hard.

Confessing sin is necessarily individual — personal. "We all sin" or "he sinned" is not hard to say. The hard part is when I must say, "I have sinned." Sin is individual; guilt is personal. Personal confession is demanded. Note David's confession — "my sin" — "mine iniquity" — "my transgression." Read Psalms 51.

Confession of sin is definite. "If I have done anything..." is easy but it simply is not confession of sin. A fellow who is unsure whether he has sinned should find out. Until he knows and admits his sin, he can make no real confession. "If" confessions are a farce. Confession must say, "I have sinned" — no doubt about it. David was definite — "my sin is ever before me."

Confession of sin is specific. A confession of generally sinful life is proper but this is not the thing under consideration. Confession admits the particular sin. David referred to "this evil" and "blood-guiltiness." True confession says, "I have been a gossip" or "I have been a troublemaker" or "I have stolen." Have you heard such a confession? It is so hard that few will do it.

Often sin is renamed; the crime is reduced. This is common practice in civil law. The criminal is allowed to admit a misdemeanor rather than the felony he actually committed. That is not allowed in God's court: You cannot confess to "hurting someone's feelings" when you have slandered the man. "Accidentally misrepresenting the facts" or "exaggerating" will not do when you lied. Confession names sin.

Confession addresses the one who has been sinned against. Send that fellow back down the aisle to the door of the man he injured. Let him look that man in the eye and say, "I lied about you." That is confession. A dozen times down the aisle would be easier, but not acceptable. Confessing to the church will not replace it. David knew this principle — "against thee have I sinned." Send that other brother from the front seat to a secluded corner to pray. Before he says ought to the brethren, he needs to talk to God. He has sinned against God; he must confess to God. Later he may need to talk to the church, but not before he confesses to God. There is another fellow on the front pew who has no business there. He walked the wrong aisle; he confessed to the wrong church! He sinned against the church across town when he sowed discord there. Send him to confess where he sinned.

Confession of sin anticipates a plea for forgiveness. A man may admit his meanness — in fact he may even be proud of it. That is not the Bible brand of confession. A man who seeks no pardon is not confessing sin. Listen to David — "Have mercy upon me..."

Confession is good for the soul, but mighty hard — especially on pride.

Joe Fitch, San Antonio, TX.