“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” – Psalm 32.5From Dave Atkinson:
Are you familiar with the phrase, “better out than in”? If you’ve watched the movie Shrek, you will be! In the movie, Shrek (an ogre) utters the phrase after he has burped a bit too loudly!
But, “better out than in”, doesn’t just apply to excess air. It would be equally appropriate to a sting, poison, an inflamed appendix or to someone feeling violently sick for instance. The thing in common with all these things is that if we leave them in, we will become ever more uncomfortable or risk serious complications.
More serious than any of these though is the sin that we try to keep in and hide from God. Why do we do that – especially when deep down we know that God knows everything about us anyway? Maybe we think that we can balance the books with a string of good works. Maybe, we are too embarrassed to bring it out to God openly because of the pain it might bring. Maybe we think God will eventually forget. But all we do by trying these or any other method is to add the sin of deceit; and the festering gets worse.
David, the writer of Psalm 32 knew and experienced this. In verse 3 and 4, he describes the effects of trying to keep silent about his sins – his anguish was so overwhelming that it resulted in physical pain as he felt the weight of God against him. It spoiled the relationship that he had with God. Things could only be put right by David being honest, by admitting his sinfulness to God, so that God could provide forgiveness. The blessings of verse 1 and 2 of the Psalm, where God has forgiven and covered David’s sins, do not come about until David has confessed his wrongdoing.
When Jesus gave his life for us on the cross, he paid the price for every sin that we’ve committed – however bad – however shameful – however embarrassing. Jesus suffered for us so that we do not have to suffer the weight of God’s judgement on us. Maybe there is something that you are trying to keep in, keep hidden. The blessed people of Psalm 32, and the happiest followers of Jesus today, are those that stop trying to cover up sin, come to Jesus in repentance, receive forgiveness through his amazing grace and enjoy a loving and ever deepening relationship with him.
John sums it up in 1 John 1:8-9 like this: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”