Confession Is Good For The Soul

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Proverbs 28:13 NIV
13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Proverbs 28:13 ESV
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Introduction- Why It’s So Hard to Admit You’re Wrong

New York Times
Kristin Won
May 22, 2017
Mistakes can be hard to digest, so sometimes we double down rather than face them. Our confirmation bias kicks in, causing us to seek out evidence to prove what we already believe. The car you cut off has a small dent in its bumper, which obviously means that is the other driver’s fault.
Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance- the stress we experience when we hold two contradictory thoughts, beliefs, options, or attitudes. For example, you might believe you are a kind and fair person so when you rudely cut someone off, you experience dissonance. To cope with it, you deny your mistake and insist the other driver should have seen you, or you had the right of way even if you don’t.
“Cognitive dissonance is what we feel when the self- concept- I’m smart I’m kind, I’m convinced this belief is true- is threatened by evidence that we did something that wasn’t smart, that we did something that hurt another person, that the belief isn’t true,” said Carol Tavris, a co-author of the book “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me.”
According t o George Spencer, in his article “Secrets Can Make You Sick,” this type of cognitive dissonance can make us sick. Studies have proven that our mood, emotions, disposition can be impacted by our hidden secrets and/or mistakes.
Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Crime and Punishment is often cited as one of the greatest works of world literature.
Crime and Punishment follows the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in Saint Petersburg who plans to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker, an old woman who stores money and valuable objects in her flat. He theorises that with the money he could liberate himself from poverty and go on to perform great deeds, and seeks to convince himself that certain crimes are justifiable if they are committed in order to remove obstacles to the higher goals of 'extraordinary' men. Once the deed is done, however, he finds himself wracked with confusion, paranoia, and disgust. His theoretical justifications lose all their power as he struggles with guilt and horror and is confronted with both internal and external consequences of his deed.
Illustration: Psychology Today, December 22, 2020 article
Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
ABPP= American Board of Professional Psychology
“The Best Way to Confess When You've Done Something Wrong”
According to Lowe and Haws, whether you change or not on the basis of the confession actually depends on how much guilt you actually experience about your behavior. If your transgression is large enough, and your guilt correspondingly high, there should be a good chance your confession will lead you to reform your behavior. However, if your transgression represents a minor lapse and you don’t feel that much guilt about it, your behavior in the future is unlikely to change even after you offer a confession. Indeed, in these circumstances, you may feel that you just don’t have the will or ability to change your behavior.
Turning now to the findings, the predictions supported the role of guilt as the key factor leading participants to exercise their self-control. When participants experienced high levels of guilt over what they regarded as a major indiscretion, their tendency to over-indulge after confessing was greatly curbed. The confessors with low levels of guilt went merrily on their way, eating more candy or being willing to spend unreservedly.
These results have the disturbing implication that confessing can actually pull you farther away from your goals toward self-improvement if you feel little guilt for your lapses. In the words of the authors, “although public discussion of our mistakes can in some instances aid in our future adherence to these goals, it also has the potential to backfire if there is a lack of genuine guilt regarding the transgression” (p. 574). It's only when people offer confessions for behaviors that create deep levels of guilt that the event will become an inspiration for behavior change.
The Lowe and Haws findings don't necessarily suggest how to use confessions to restore your public image when you've shown poor judgment in your actions or your words. However, the study does support the importance of at least expressing a certain level of guilt when and if you do make your confession. The next time you're caught in an act (involving behavior or words), allow yourself to reflect on what you've done rather than blame your lack of self-control. A confession that reflects a certain degree of soul-searching, as long as it's sincere, could go a long way toward repairing the damage of your actions.

Transition To Body- God Sees Everything

Illustration: Research psychologists have found there are at least three situations when we do not act like ourselves. First, the average person puts on airs when he visits the lobby of a fancy hotel. Next, the typical Jane Doe will try to hide her emotions and bamboozle the salesman when she enters the new-car showroom. And finally, as we take our seat in church, we try to fake out the Almighty that we’ve really been good all week.
2 Samuel 11:1–5 ESV
1 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3 And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
2 Samuel 11:26–27 ESV
26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. 27 And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.
2 Samuel 12:1 ESV
1 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.
2 Samuel 12:7–9 ESV
7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

In other words, “cover” (in the sense of “conceal”) and “confess” are antonyms.


Rebellious Nature Of Conscious Sin

Proverbs 28:13 ESV
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.


keeps hidden, keep to oneself, not respond with knowledge, i.e., keep information from others, though known and understood by oneself


crime, sin, offence, fault, transgression, i.e., what is contrary to a standard, human or divine, with a focus on the rebellious nature of the sin (Ge 50:17)

Prov. 28:24 provides a counterpart to this story (one Jacob escapes): “Anyone who robs father or mother and says, ‘That is no offense,’ is partner to a thug (mašḥîṯ).” The situation is again an outrageous one, since the perpetrator exploits the fact that, as a son, he could easily take something within the family without actually committing robbery. What is especially base and infuriating is that he refuses to acknowledge robbery as an offense or legal violation. Prov. 28:21 probably also belongs in this context: “To respect the person is not good, since for a piece of bread a (free) person yip̱šaʿ [NRSV ‘may do wrong’].” Is this case not also an outrageous one, since a free person certainly does not need to steal a piece of bread, and yet such confusing acts are indeed committed? The case is noteworthy only if the respected person can also be caught in the act of committing an offense.

Insofar as HAL accurately describes these offenses as “acts which break relationships within the community and with God,”53 wisdom seems to be thinking more of those who act unwisely than of breaches requiring urgent legal redress.

Rebellious Nature Of Conscious Sin

Inevitable Exposure Of Hidden Sin

Proverbs 28:13 ESV
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

A totally different usage is present, however, in passages that speak of concealing or hiding sin. In Ps. 32:5, for example, the psalmist says that he does not hide his iniquity but acknowledges it (ydʿ hiphil + ydh hiphil); the result is God’s forgiveness (nāśāʾ). In Job 31:33, Job says that he has not concealed his transgressions or hidden (ṭmm) his iniquity in his bosom. Prov. 28:13 says: “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses (ydh hiphil) and forsakes (ʿāzaḇ) them will obtain mercy.”


come in power, be forceful, i.e., have an overpowering force/person join (or replace?) a common force, with the result being a strong, successful action which is the will of the overpowering person or force, implying the force is swift or sudden as well as forceful

The most common notion is that someone “succeeds” at something, or is able to “complete” it.

Jer. 12:1 speaks of how the “way” of the wicked succeeds.

By contrast, more frequently we read that something “will not succeed,” that someone will “not be able to do” something, or that some person or thing is “no longer useful” for something. Such applies in Nu. 14:41 to the people’s attempt to conquer the land without Yahweh’s help. Isa. 54:17 promises that no weapon “fashioned against you [Zion/Israel]” will succeed. According to Ezk. 15:4, the charred wood of the vine branch is not suitable for anything (formulated as a rhetorical question, picking up the same expression again in v. 5; cf. Jer. 13:7, 10). Similar arguments are used in Ezk. 17:7, 9 (cf. Ps. 1:3 for this imagery). Jer. 22:30 portrays Jehoiachin as a man without good fortune who succeeded at nothing his entire life; moreover, the same will apply to his descendants on the Davidic throne (cf. again in 13:7, 10 how Jeremiah’s loincloth “is good for nothing”).

Genesis 3:8–10 ESV
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

sin will find you out

Numbers 32:23 ESV
23 But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.

public exposture of sin

Proverbs 26:26 ESV
26 though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 ESV
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Failure to seek the Lord’s counsel

Isaiah 29:15 ESV
15 Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”

The LORD sees everything

Jeremiah 16:17 ESV
17 For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes.
Ezekiel 8:12 ESV
12 Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’ ”
Luke 12:2 ESV
2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.

Sin will catch up with you

1 Timothy 5:24–25 ESV
24 The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 25 So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.

God’s discerning word

Hebrews 4:12–13 ESV
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Rebellious Nature Of Conscious Sin
Inevitable Exposure Of Hidden Sin

Compassion Of God Towards Repentant Sinners

Proverbs 28:13 ESV
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Confesses- admits

confess, make an admission, i.e., to publicly admit to something, usually a wrong of some kind

Leviticus 5:5 ESV
5 when he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed,
Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV
9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Daniel 9:3–6 ESV
3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

They arise from the fundamental conviction that prayer and confession can end the distress that has come about as a consequence of sin, giving both the individual and the people a future. This is the attitude to life of Wisdom Literature, summarized pregnantly in Prov. 28:13

The same is true in the book of Daniel. They arise from the fundamental conviction that prayer and confession can end the distress that has come about as a consequence of sin, giving both the individual and the people a future. This is the attitude to life of Wisdom Literature, summarized pregnantly in Prov. 28:13 (cf. Ps. 32): “Those who conceal their transgressions will not prosper, but those who confess (môḏeh) and forsake them will obtain mercy.”

Forsakes- leave and/or turns away from

abandon, reject, desert, i.e., to leave a former association

demand that one turn away from foolishness and wickedness (Prov. 9:6; 28:13). The bipolar theological schema “avoid evil and do not forsake good” is thus pedagogically prefigured.

According to the Gospel Coalition

1. Be honest about your need for repentance.
Psalm 32:2 ESV
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
2. Acknowledge the danger of sin and damage of guilt.
Psalm 32:3–4 ESV
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
3. Confess fully.
Psalm 32:5 ESV
5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
4. Hide in God.
Psalm 32:5–7 ESV
5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah 6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. 7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
5. Seize the hope.
Psalm 32:11 ESV
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!


find compassion, find mercy (Pr 28:13; Hos 14:4

Hosea 14:4 ESV
4 I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.
Mark 2:4–7 ESV
4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Illustration: A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death.
"But I don't ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy."
"But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied.
"Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for."
"Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy." And he spared the woman's son.
The LORD Waits To Be Gracious
The LORD Exalts Himself to Show Mercy
Isaiah 30:18 ESV
18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
Availability of Mercy
Lamentations 3:22–24 ESV
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
James 3:17 ESV
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
Ephesians 2:4–5 ESV
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Ephesians 2:6–8 ESV
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Titus 3:5 ESV
5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Rebellious Nature Of Conscious Sin
Inevitable Exposure Of Hidden Sin
Compassion Of God Towards Repentant Sinners

Transition To Close- Our Life Together

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, born on February 4, 1906, was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and martyr, who was a key founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity's role in the secular world have become widely influential; his 1937 book The Cost of Discipleship is described as a modern classic.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in his book “Life Together:”
He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners.
He adds:
The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy.
Bonhoeffer writes:
In confession the break-through to community takes place. Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sins wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen even in the midst of a pious community. In confession the light of the Gospel breaks into the darkness and seclusion of the heart.
Bonhoeffer writes:
The sin must be brought into the light. The unexpressed must be openly spoken and acknowledged. . . . Now he stands in the fellowship of sinners who live by the grace of God in the Cross of Jesus Christ. Now he can be a sinner and still enjoy the grace of God. He can confess his sins and in this very act find fellowship for the first time. The sin concealed separated him from the fellowship, made all his apparent fellowship a sham; the sin confessed has helped him to find true fellowship with the brethren in Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:9 ESV
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
John 3:19–21 ESV
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 3:16–18 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
1 John 1:5–9 ESV
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Blessed is the one who fears the LORD!

Proverbs 28:14 ESV
14 Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Philippians 2:12–13 ESV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Close- Have Mercy On Me LORD!

Psalm 51:1–2 ESV
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Psalm 51:3–6 ESV
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Psalm 51:7–12 ESV
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Hebrews 4:15–16 ESV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
1 Peter 1:3 ESV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
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