Many times confession is thought of as a hard, begrudging process. It is not comfortable to express personal flaws to another person because it often leaves you feeling shameful. When you confess wrongs, judgment arises, you get treated differently, and your status level lowers. This mindset transfers to how we relate to God. We mess up and are ashamed to tell God how we have fallen. Even though He already knows our faults, we get choked up expressing our sins to Him. Thoughts begin to spring up in our minds: “God will judge me.” “God thinks less of me.” “I am no longer precious in His sight.” These are lies from Satan because the reaction of God is the opposite. Once we confess our sins, He is ready to forgive. It is our sins that separate us from Him; but when we confess those sins, there is no longer a gulf between us and God. When we confess He comes closer to us. He tightly wraps us in His arms of love. We remove ourselves from God’s embrace when we seek to follow selfish desires and yield to temptation. God is still there waiting for us to come back, but because we are in the darkness of sin, we no longer feel the light of His love, leading us to think God has forsaken us.
One of the reasons why I think it is hard to confess to God is because we think God behaves the way humans do. When we love others—caring for their needs before our own—and then the person we are giving our love to hurts or rejects us, our initial character response is not to care for them in the same way once they have treated us wrongly. The person becomes out of sight and out of mind. The love that was once there has ceased in our hearts. The person would have to do something that benefits us before we welcome them back in. This is why we think God wants something grand of us so we can be welcomed back into His graces.
God responds to our faults in such a different way. He is like the father of the prodigal son, checking every day to see if his child will come home. The expectant day arrives when the father goes to look out for any sign of his son, and to his reward, he sees him afar off. The father runs with open arms to greet his son. The prodigal son, filled with sorrow and shame knows he doesn’t deserve to be in the position of a son and is willing to become a servant. But the father’s love is even poured out more because his child that was lost is now back home.
At one point in each of our lives, we have been like the prodigal son. There comes a point where the temporary joys of our human desires lead us to a miserable place, where we end up eating pigs food. Our despair leads us to repent of our wrongs and want to go back to our Heavenly Father. Repentance causes us to take a U-turn, confession is leaving that path behind us, acknowledging that we have done wrong but now we are going back to our Father. God awaits us every day to see if we will come back to him. We are instructed to leave our baggage at His feet, admit our wrongs, and fully surrender to Him.
For us to experience the healing balm of confession, we must first love the way God loves. In the relationships you have today, ask God to give you a heart to love the other person even when it’s hard. In addition to that, make your relationships an open space to be real with one another, start to express your faults when they come and build one another up. When I began to open up to my parents, mentors, or inner circle of friends, I felt God’s love expressed through them. When I offended them, instead of letting the awkward tension hang between us, I asked for forgiveness and confessed my wrongs. They forgave me, and when they wronged me I forgave them. My relationships began to be stronger because it allowed them to be fully known and fully loved. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus said, “And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us…” (Luke 6:4). When we begin to forgive others the way God does—not holding any grudges, but loving the person even more than before they wronged us—we can be sure God does the same for us. “When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of all our unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9). My challenge for you: Do the same.