Psalm 32 (NRSV)
1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,whose sin is covered.2 Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,and in whose spirit there is no deceit.3 While I kept silence, my body wasted awaythrough 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. Selah5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you,and I did not hide my iniquity;I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah6 Therefore let all who are faithfuloffer prayer to you;at a time of distress, the rush of mighty watersshall not reach them.7 You are a hiding place for me;you preserve me from trouble;you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;I will counsel you with my eye upon you.9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,else it will not stay near you.10 Many are the torments of the wicked,but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.
The psalmist says, and I paraphrase a bit, “While I kept silent, my body wasted away…then I acknowledged my sin to you and you forgave all the guilt of my sin.” That which is allowed to stay in the dark grows more unwieldy and dark. That which is exposed to the antiseptic properties of the light are healed. This principle is true for our spiritual lives as well.
Why do we not practice regular confession to God? Afraid of condemnation? Guilt keeps us confused? Forget? Maybe a little of all the above?
But when we do practice regular times of examination and confession we find the light of God exposing our darkness and healing us. Confession is not about God catching us doing something wrong…it is about God healing our deepest symptoms and even the root causes of our straying from God’s path. A lack of confession indicates we struggle with pride and perhaps that is the place to start…
Here is the prayer of confession I pray each morning. It is a mashup of several confessions as well as some that has been personalized. I offer it to you as a suggestion that has made a great difference in my life.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit please have mercy on me. For I have sinned against you in thought, word and deed by what I have done and left undone. My loves grows cold and my neighbor is unknown. My desires are selfish, lazy and destructive. For the sake of your son my Savior please forgive me. Free me for joyful obedience.