I’ve also found this to be true in the Church.
It’s a mystery to me why so many Christians seem to have such a hard time being honest with each other. Why can’t we just admit our brokenness, struggles with sin and what we wrestle with in life? I mean, it’s not like we’re perfect. So why are we pretending like we’ve got it figured out and have no problems?
Anyways, I want to talk a little bit about repentance and confession in this post. I’m not talking about going to a priest kind of confession. I’m not Catholic and find the practice of confession to a priest and his subsequent absolution abhorrent and anti-gospel. I’m talking about confession of sin to each other within the body of Christ. We need to recognize that unconfessed sin damages more than just you personally; it hurts the body of Christ also and robs God of His glory.
One of the reasons I love the Psalms is that the writers of the Psalms, specifically David, seem to have no problem talking about what’s going on in their heart, crying out to God and talking about some dark things. I wish we were as honest with ourselves and each other as the writers of the Psalms were.
I’ve had some recent experience with repentance and confession and would like to talk a bit about that.
I’ve recently been forced to face some issues in my own heart of things I was holding on to. I learned some lessons about how unconfessed sin can do some serious damage to our own hearts. So I want to talk about three specific things that unconfessed sin does.
1. Unconfessed sin damages our own heart.
I discovered this for myself in the situation referred to above. I had harbored some anger, bitterness and resentment toward some brothers in Christ. Now, don’t get me wrong. I knew it was wrong of me to hold on to this. Ya’ll, I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway. This is the nature of sin. It corrupts us and damages our heart. I knew the feelings I had toward these brothers was sinful but I didn’t care. The “power” that unforgiveness held over me began to poison my heart.
Then, a few weeks ago, in His mercy, God showed me my sin. We were worshipping with our church family and the time for the Lord’s Supper came up. I knew that I was taking the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner. I knew that I had harbored these feelings toward those brothers in my heart and, in that moment, the Spirit convicted me in a powerful way. I knew in that moment that I had to confess to my brothers my sin toward them.
It really doesn’t matter what they may or may not have done to offend me. That’s not the point. I needed to admit the darkness and hardness of my own heart. Repentance begins with you. Don’t wait for that person who has offended you to repent. You repent before the face of God, recognizing that your sin is ultimately against God.
Unconfessed sin damages our own heart.
2. Unconfessed sin causes division in the Church.
It may not be our intention to cause division but that is precisely what we are doing when we harbor unconfessed sin in our hearts. We are saying, in effect, that we are more important than the unity of the body of Christ. Our own selfish desires drive division and, make no mistake, unconfessed sin will cause division. When I held on to my sinful anger toward those brothers, I was ultimately causing division in the very group of people that Christ died for. How dare I/we think so highly of ourselves that we refuse to confess and smear the very name of Jesus!
Unconfessed sin causes division in the Church.
3. Unconfessed sin robs God of His glory.
Ultimately, this is the real problem with unconfessed sin in our lives. We make ourselves to be gods and, in effect, tell Jesus that what He has done isn’t quite good enough. See, when we don’t admit our sin, we basically say that we don’t need Jesus. We’re good enough on our own to forgive ourselves.
Listen, let me tell you something if you don’t know. You’re broken, darker than you realize and your problem is simple. You are a sinner in need of the forgiveness that can only come through repentance and faith in Jesus. Your sin will separate you eternally from your Creator. So will mine.
This is the beauty of the Gospel. We are all equally broken and our hearts are desperately wicked. We are all equally in need of salvation. Praise God that He has provided what we most need, salvation in His Son, Jesus! Let’s stop pretending like we’ve got stuff figured out and live in openness before each other, admitting our need for a Saviour and reveling in His goodness and provision in the forgiveness of our sin through Jesus!
Praise Him for His goodness!
Soli Deo Gloria!