I had the opportunity to discuss the concept of confessing sin with a few different folks on various occasions recently, and I noticed a common theme – a reluctance to admit to committing certain sins. When the people I was speaking with finally beat around the bush, hinted at, alluded to and found the most indirect way to confess something, the eventual revelation was, well, not at all shocking. One person admitted they sometimes get impatient with, and raise their voice at, their children. If you’re a parent – and human – chances are you have done this more than once. Now, I am in no way justifying yelling at kids or trying to diminish the sins of impatience and anger; but I am saying that there’s hardly a parent on this Earth who could even pretend to be shocked if someone confesses that to them.
Here’s the reality: unless you’ve committed some criminal act, chances are the sins you are ashamed to confess are not any different than the ones we all struggle with and can/should understand and not be judgmental. Anger? Yep. Me too. Pride? Sadly, most of the time. Gossip? Sorry to say, yes. Lust? Lack of self control? Envy? Unkindness? Yes, certainly, at times. You get the point, I’m sure. Other than the fact we are all made by God in His image, sin is the single most common unifying factor of our human experience. If you struggle with vanity, pride, lust, anger and just about any other sin to one degree or another, welcome to the club.
We’re all sinners, and not one of us is in a position to lord our self-perceived perfection or righteousness over someone else. Until Jesus returns and sin and death are finally destroyed forever, sin is going to be a constant reminder of the reality that we’re under a curse and in need of a Savior. As such, we should mourn the sin in our lives and seek to kill it through the Holy’s Spirit’s power, as well as encourage the same in the lives of others. We should be willing to confess our sins “one to another” (James 5:16) as well as be the kind of person who can respond with Gospel truth that results in encouragement and holiness.
Your sin is not unique. King Solomon said “there’s nothing new under the sun,” and so it is with sin. You only have to read the first few chapters of Genesis to see the first human sin, and then the pride, murder, lies, deceit, sexual perversion and immorality, rape and more that quickly followed and has plagued us ever since. The bottom line is this: 1 John 1:8-9 says, “If we say 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” (emphasis mine). We are all guilty of sin, and we all need the forgiveness offered to us by and through Jesus Christ. In that sense, we are all alike and equally in need of grace and mercy.
Let us examine ourselves and confess to God, and, as appropriate and necessary, to one another. Don’t live in quiet isolation and fear, or even pride, thinking your sin is special and no one else deals with the same thing. Rather, let us be honest, vulnerable and authentic with one another. If we do that, I think we will find the truth and power of the Gospel will begin to unify us even more than our sin.