I love snowboarding and recently went to ride at Wintergreen. When I ride, I like to do what I call “snowboard dancing” (trademark pending) where I crank the music up in my headphones and ride in a dance groove down the slopes. I was in the middle of nice rhythm when I caught edge and ended up flipping end-over-end on my board. I got up as quickly as my injured body could -- actually it was mostly my pride that was injured -- and looked around to see who had seen me perform such an amazing trick, hoping and praying that no one actually had.
In those moments, we jump up, and the first thing that we do is look around to see who might have seen us fall and whether they are laughing at us. There is such a sense of relief when we realize that there is no one watching us.
If we are honest, we all have moments like that where we fall and then jump up and hope that no one saw us. When we realize that no one did see us there is a huge sense of relief because if no one saw then no one has to know that we messed up.
King David lived one major section of his life this way. He made an error of judgment with Bathsheba which lead to even worse decisions that cost another man his life. For a whole year, he lived his life covering his darkest secrets, hoping and praying that no one would uncover the truth, until one day Nathan the prophet confronted him and made his sin public.
After that moment of confrontation, we can sense such a relief in David's life. He wrote later in the Psalms about confession and the sin that he had covered for so long. In Psalms 139, he says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." David finally got the fact that confession was the only thing that brings relief. He said, “God get into the deepest darkest parts of my heart and test me to see if there is anything wrong there.”
"David finally got the fact that confession was the only thing that brings relief."
Confession is about our acknowledgment of our sin and our need of grace. This was something David came to grips with in Psalms 51 when he said, “restore to me the joy of my salvation.” In a sense, he says hiding sin was so difficult that it stole the joy he once had in Christ. He no longer wanted to hide his sin. Instead, he wanted to focus on grace. Paul David Tripp says, “When you argue for your own righteousness, working hard to deny the empirical evidence of your sin, then you fail to seek the amazing grace that is your only hope. Grace is only ever attractive to sinners.”
When we try to get up from a fall hoping no one has seen so we can cover our failures, we cheapen God’s grace. Sin reveals our need for grace. We see this truth all throughout scripture. Isaiah is brought before the throne of God and he says, “woe to me for I am ruined.” Peter, when he cast his nets out and pulled in a great catch, fell down at Jesus’ feet and said, “go away from me Lord for I am a sinful man.”
Encounters with God always lead to two types of confession: confession of our sin and confession of who God is.
Confession comes when we admit we are not perfect and that there are things that are wrong with us. Somehow this is difficult because we think that might be a surprise to other people. Yet ask anyone who knows us well, and they can list a hundred things wrong with us, even if we might not be willing to admit them.
We were created to need the community of confession. Keeping people involved in the details of our lives breeds community, community breeds relationships, and these relationships will breed intimacy. When we are willing to share our most intimate failures, God will move in our midst.
If we want to have healthy relationships with our friends, our family, or our spouse, we have to confess our sins to God and also confess our sins one to another. We admit that we don't have it all together, and that’s fine because none of us have it all together! This will move us into new and deeper levels with Christ and new and deeper levels with our friends and family.
So here are four practical things you can do: