(Confession is not only good for the soul, it shows true remorse.)
But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done. (Psalm 38:18 NLT)
By Fr. Chris Lee OFR
I had the privilege of growing up in my Grandfather’s home. He was a wise Pastor with forty three years of Ministerial experience steeped in historic Christian tradition. I remember that he had several Bibles around the house, and in his study. One of those Bibles was his “Preaching Bible” that was only used for sermons, and was treasured by him. I remember that Bible because of a certain incident that occurred when I was about five years old.
I remember seeing that Bible laying unguarded on the table. I also remember having as it were, a certain crayon in my hand. Wanting to be like the old wise Pastor, I decided to do some highlighting of my own. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually know how, and wound up with a page full of scribbles! All of a sudden, I heard my Grandmother approaching, and immediately realized I had done something wrong. I decided quickly to close the Bible, and move away from it.
A couple of days went bye, and I continued to feel worse about the incident. I remember the guilt and shame I felt growing inside me. I didn’t want to tell him because I was afraid he would be angry, punish me, or worse yet….. be disappointed in me. What was I to do? I could pretend that nothing happened, but that would only buy me a little time until he discovered it. I could say that I didn’t do it, but I was the only child in our home. Oh the agony of a guilty conscience!!!!!
Finally, with tears streaming and a conscience that could bear no more, I ran to him and confessed what I had done. To my astonishment, he was not angry! He took me into his arms and held me while he wiped away my tears. He told me that he knew I was sorry because of my willingness to confess. Believe it or not, he knew what I had done the entire time. As it turns out, my Grandmother saw me close the Bible and run away lol!!
I learned a valuable lesson on repentance and confession that has stayed with me my whole life. I learned that fear of rejection, condemnation, or discipline, can trap us in a world of guilt and shame. I also learned that confession in the presence of genuine love can cover a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) My Grandfather used that opportunity to teach me that confession does indeed show genuine remorse. Therefore, let us keep short accounts with one another, and with God. Let us be quick to confess our sins, and let God’s grace and mercy cover them. By the way, I still have my Grandfather’s Bible, and preached my first sermon from it over twenty years ago. And yes, my scribbles are still there, and still remind me of the benefits of confession.
Is your conscience troubling you about some unconfessed sin or situation? If so:
- Humble Yourself Before God: Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” (NLT)
- Confess your sins to Christ (with the help of a Priest): 1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (NLT)
- Try and make amends: Proverbs 14:9 says, “Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.” (NLT)