My husband grew up among a lot of neighborhood boys. Almost all of them were Catholic. One evening a week, the neighborhood ball game was disrupted because the boys had to go to confession. My husband, who was about ten years old at the time and not Catholic, was curious about confession, so he went to observe. He watched as one at a time, each boy entered the confessional and was in there for a while and then came out again.
He asked if he would be allowed to go in there. The boys did not see any reason why he shouldn’t, so into the confessional he went. He was a little nervous, not knowing what to expect. The small space was dark. The quiet only made his nervousness worse.
Suddenly a deep voice spoke into the darkness, “How can I help you, My child?” My husband got so flustered that he blurted out, “I’m sorry, God.” He ran out of the confessional. His brief encounter with “God” scared him to death.
I can imagine King Abimelech felt much the same way when God spoke to him in a dream about his mistake in taking Sarah into his harem. She was already married to Abraham. Of course, Abimelech did not know this. Both Abraham and Sarah had told him they were brother and sister which they were since they both had the same father, but different mothers. Abimelech proclaimed his innocence to God in this matter. God acknowledged it, and told him that He knew he had not sinned against Him. But God told him to return Sarah to her husband, or God would kill him and all his people.
Of course, Abimelech woke early the next morning and sent for Abraham. He returned Sarah to Abraham and gave him gifts of livestock, slaves and silver to compensate for any trouble Sarah may have dealt with over the misunderstanding. Abimelech asked him why in the world he would do such a thing? Abraham confessed his guilt of deception and explained he feared he would be killed so the King could take Sarah for his wife. Abraham showed his lack of faith in God in this situation. God used Abimelech to show Abraham his sin and to force Abraham to confess.
In our society, confession of sin seems like an archaic religious notion. But, it is not and is expected of us, especially those of us who profess to have faith in God. If sin was not important to God, then Jesus would not have had to die on the cross. Confessing our sin helps us to keep check on our behaviors and thoughts. It also opens our line of communication to God. We should be praying daily and confession of sin should be a part of that.
What is sin? Anything that is not pleasing to God. How do we know? Reading the Bible will show us what God expects of us. Galatians 5:13-26 is a good place to start. The hardest part of confessing sin is our ego. After all, who wants to admit they did, felt or thought something wrong? It’s much easier to sweep it under the carpet and not deal with it. If you cannot find a sin to confess, just ask God. He will bring your sin to light.
God knows we are human. No matter how hard we try, it is impossible to be perfect. Yet, He loves us anyway. He is pleased when we monitor our own spiritual well-being by the awareness of sin in our lives and will help us in our efforts to change.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9