I was surprised this past week when the director of the Secret Services resigned in response to a number of blunders that had occurred in protecting the President. First on Tuesday she took responsibility for these failures, than on Wednesday she actually resigned. Why would this surprise me? Because over the last two administrations it seems like no is ultimately responsible for anything that happens. No one is held accountable. We are not experiencing a crisis of confidence right now in government but a crisis of competence. A lot of that has to do with the fact that no one takes responsibility for their actions or mistakes nor is anyone held responsible. There is so many excuses and blame-shifting and no one gets fired. Are you tired of the excuses yet?
Well in our spiritual lives it shouldn’t be this way. In fact John in the 1st chapter of his first epistle tells us, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”, (v.8-9, NKJV). One of the most important things we can do is to have honest confession before God and before one another. When the Holy Spirit of God speaks to our heart about some area of conviction in our lives and we excuse it and don’t call it sin, we harden our hearts just a little bit. Each time we do this our heart gets a little harder until finally we don’t even hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us any longer because our hearts have become so hardened.
That’s why confession is such a critical part of our spiritual journey. The word translated “confess” in v. 9 is the Greek word “homologeo” which means to acknowledge a fact publicly, often in reference to previous bad behavior. It is much more than simply admitting something because we got caught. It is speaking from a contrite heart and agreeing with God about our sins. It is a recognition of one’s sinfulness and a humbling of oneself before God. This idea of confession is seen in James’ epistle when he writes, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (5:16 NKJV). This passage connects physical illness with the need for honest confession to one another.
Remember John was writing about fellowship and how to maintain fellowship with God and with one another. So honest confession is very significant in maintaining fellowship in both of these areas. There is a cleansing that happens when we confess our sins to one another and to God. Think of David’s great contrition when he was confronted by Nathan concerning his sin with Bathsheba.
I’ve often wondered how human history would have been different if Adam following his sin with Eve in the garden had a different response. What would have happened if Adam instead of running and hiding from God had instead ran to God and fallen on his face before God and confessed his sin. That’s where this blame-shifting and excuses begins with Adam’s words “It was woman you gave to me!” Not only is he blaming Eve but he’s also implicating God for giving him the woman in the first place. This is where this blame-shifting begins, the question is, where will it end? Will it end with us? Are we willing to come clean to God and with one another about our sins?
Pastor Rich Sivo