Monday, August 24, 2009
Psalm 32 expresses David’s joy in experiencing the freedom of God’s forgiveness. But, for a while, David did not rejoice because he refused to confess his sin (v. 3). God’s tough but gracious discipline brought David to the point that he laid everything before the Lord without holding back. He stopped trying to hide his guilt from God (v. 5). The result of his full confession was God’s forgiveness, which led to David’s rejoicing: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” (v. 1).I am struck by a couple of things as I read that, the first is how many people I know, myself included that have experienced the freedom of confession - that know that "exultant joy" - that still have a hard time turning to confession the next time. This seems to be the lesson we never learn.
I have seen this sort of scenario play out in many lives. As a pastor, I have been privileged to listen to people who, after years of struggling with guilt, have finally been able to confess their sin to God. The resulting experience of forgiveness and peace often leads to exultant joy.
And yet, confession is the starting point of faith.
Which leads me to my second point. There is indeed a freedom that comes from such confession, there is an emotional release that we experience, but how often do we claim the full freedom that comes from it? The freedom to get truly better. How many people sit in peer groups or counseling situation for years, even decades, confessing, once again, how they failed to resist the same temptation again this week?
It seems like the euphoria, the emotional high of forgiveness is addicting in itself. AND WE WANT MORE.
I think the Apostle Paul addressed this situation. - Romans 6:
Rom 6:1-2 - What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?Which brings me back to my first observation. We resist confession becasue it entails genuine change. We throw around cheap grace and we cheapen the confessing experience rather than actually, genuinely change. We treat it like an emotional high rather than the difficult beginning of a process that it really is.
I worry about confession that gives an immediate buzz. Is that really confession? Somehow I think the rewards of confession are much farther down the line.