Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
So simple. Only 17 words in English. And yet here we have a weight of truth; here we have freedom held out. These words are priceless.
We tend to think that if nobody knows about our secret sins, then we can handle it. We can make it. Basically, we think we'll prosper. But what does Proverbs 28:13 say? We won't. When our hidden sins are covered up and hushed up we think we're getting away with it. But these sins are killing us inside. Imagine the distance relationally between you and a friend, when you're interrupted by her phone call during a binge. "Hey, just wanted to call to see how you're doing" and you choose to answer "oh fine...." You are hiding! You are in the darkness, because of the terror that you have of others discovering your sin. You can't let anyone know. It would ruin you...
But there is hope. The second half of this verse provides amazing promise for those who would believe it. This verse says don't conceal... but instead confess and forsake. Let's unpack those:
- Confess: Admit that you are wrong! Agree with God's assessment: this is sin. Be honest with others about the reality and depth of your sin. Speak clearly, don't soften the language.
- Forsake: Turn away from your beloved sin. Don't embrace it any longer, but cast it away as the poison that it is. Don't hold on to it. Run! Betray your idol!
And what is the result that Scripture promises if we would confess and forsake? We will obtain mercy. Mercy! Oh, all of our fears are blown away! We thought that if we would confess our sins that we would be shamed and hated. We thought that if we would forsake our sins that the LIFE they were giving us would be cut off and we would shrivel up. But no! We obtain mercy, acceptance, and new life. We prosper.
How is this possible? How can we obtain mercy and life when justice would demand our punishment and death? The answer: The unjust death of Christ.
At the cross, our sins (known and hidden) were placed on Him, and He bore the penalty for all of our transgression. Therefore, when we confess our sins, we are not fearful that God will punish us. We have confidence that He has ALREADY punished Christ! There is no wrath left, only LOVE. And that is what motivates us to confess and forsake our sins. We confess them to the God who has already forgiven, and we forsake them so that we might run to His loving arms.
Confessing and forsaking,
The Relentless Fight