We can often have a hard time with repentance.
Yes, most of us would eagerly admit that “We all make mistakes” and “We’re only human.” Nevertheless, in most instances, we think we are right. And even when we know we are at fault, we can usually justify whatever we did in our minds.
Indeed, the human propensity is to find faults in others and to shield ourselves from the scrutiny that would uncover the same errors. And this is too bad. Because repenting of our sins can lead to good things in our lives.
Lent is a perfect time to recommit ourselves to confession.
According to James 5:16, confession of our faults, coupled with prayer, brings us healing. Moreover, David expresses in Psalm 32, one of this week’s lectionary readings, that when he refused to confess his sin his “body wasted away” and he “groaned all day long” (Psalm 32:3, NRSV).
The implication from both texts is that our quality of life and living is improved when we make confession a habit. In fact, Psalm 32 in its entirety reveals to us at least three blessings that come through confession of sins.
The psalm begins, “Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit, there is no deceit” (32:1-2).
The forgiveness of our sins is not difficult for God, so why should confession be hard for us? The biblical writ is clear that God is “faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV).
This should encourage us to run toward confession and to practice revealing your faults to God and to others. We do this not because it is easy, but rather because it is the surest way to experience the forgiveness that God is eager, willing and able to give.
Do not deceive yourself, holding on to sin does not make it less real. Confess it and be forgiven!
Neglecting regular and meaningful inspection of our lives, followed by confession, keeps us bound when Christ died for us to be free. The psalmist declares that his unconfessed sin felt like a heavy weight upon him; he was sapped of strength (32:4). He continues, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity” (32:5).
It is burdensome to ignore our sin, or worse, to deny it. Surely, we have seen the consequences of doing both in our individual lives, our families and in the history of our nation.
Freedom from guilt, shame and torment awaits us on the other side of our confessions. Hiding and stalling causes us unnecessary pain and postpones our relief.
The enemy wants us to believe we can simply deny our sins, walk away from our faults and rebuff the effects of sinfulness. Not so! “The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. God … will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin” (Psalm 51:17, NCV).
Anything less than repentance just will not do. Do not let sin restrain you; break free through the power of confession.
We can access God’s strength and protection once we put down our unconfessed sins and pick up forgiveness and freedom.
David writes, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (32:7). Casting away our sin through confession allows us to grab hold to the Lord’s instruction and guidance (verse 8), unfailing love (verse 10) and even joy (verse 11).
An unrepentant heart is vulnerable to the tricks of the devil. We operate from a position of weakness when we do not confess our sins. Conversely, God’s power is released into our lives when we admit our wrongdoing and humbly apologize for our shortcomings.
Let Christ make you stronger for the journey ahead by healing the broken and fragile areas in your life.
There is no shame in admitting your faults because we all have them. The tragedy would be for us to neglect the forgiveness, freedom and fortification that Christ offers to us when we confess.
This Lenten season, let us heed the admonition of the writer of Hebrews by “stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us and run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us … focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith” (12:1-2, AMP).
Editor’s note: This article is part of a lectionary-based series for the season of Lent. One article will be published each week, offering reflection on one or more of the lectionary texts for the upcoming Sunday. The previous articles in the series are:
Lenten Lectionary | Returning to God, Returning to Self | Molly T. Marshall
Lenten Lectionary | Wilderness Living | Merianna Harrelson
Lenten Lectionary | It’s Not Easy Being Human | Rod Benson
Lenten Lectionary | Singing in the Shadow of God’s Wings | James Gordon
An ordained preacher, writer and encourager, Bridgeforth serves as the senior pastor of the Church at Clarendon located in Arlington, Virginia. Licensed to preach in 2007 and ordained in 2012, she later graduated magna cum laude from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University with a Master of Divinity. Before entering ministry full-time, she practiced law, receiving her Juris Doctorate cum laude from the Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC