The Freedom in Confession
After Adam and Eve sinned, eating from that fateful tree, they became exposed, vulnerable, and ashamed. As a result, they hid themselves from God.
This scene perfectly captures our response to our sin. Our natural reaction is to hide that part of ourselves. We hope no one, not even God, will notice. When the truth begins to come out, when we can’t hide anymore, confession still isn’t our first instinct.
Once Adam and Eve come out of hiding, they shift responsibility away from themselves. Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent. Neither takes responsibility for their sin. In response, God describes the life-changing consequences of their actions.
But what God does next is shocking. He makes them clothes.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Confession can only make things worse, or so we think. We think about what we’ll lose if we confess our sins: respect from others, loss of relationships we care about, loss of a career, or even the loss of our freedom. We might hide or shift responsibility for our sin on someone else. But these responses keep us from something we desperately need: forgiveness.
Sin is like a self-inflicted wound. The more we conceal the wound, the greater chance it will get infected and grow worse. Forgiveness is a cleaning agent that slowly washes out the infection. Forgiveness is like a bandage that helps the wound heal. Forgiveness is like the clothing that God makes for Adam and Eve, comforting us and protecting us in our vulnerable state. But the only way that healing and comfort can begin is after the wound has been exposed.
Confession is an important practice because we all need healing and freedom. We weren’t meant to hide any part of ourselves from God. Confession exposes our self-inflicted wounds and creates the opportunity for healing to begin.
As Christians, it’s important to practice confession so we can live in healing and freedom. But it’s also important to practice receiving confession from our brothers and sisters; to practice forgiveness, just as God forgives us, so that we too may be places people come to for healing and freedom.
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