There are some things in the Bible that are distinctly uncomfortable to read, usually because they require us to make changes to our thinking or our behaviour. Earlier today I read the account of John the Baptist as he dipped people in the river Jordan (Mark 1). Mark recalls that people came and publicly confessed their sins as they were baptised. It made me think of some of the things that I have confessed to god quietly but that I haven’t confessed publicly in front of my peers. I can’t imagine anything more disconcerting than exposing my historical misdeeds for all to see like that. Reading today’s passage from Proverbs 28 had the same discomfiting effect on me when I got to verse 13.
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
Each of the proverbs listed in this chapter relates to some kind of human behaviour or thinking that ultimately has an effect on others. They speak of good rulers and bad, they speak of greed and generosity and they speak of pride and love. In the end we are called to live to a particular standard and part of that call is that we recognise when we fall short of the mark. Recognising those shortcomings is an important step towards redemption. We declare we have sinned or fallen short, we ask for forgiveness and we turn about face and take steps to ensure that we don’t repeat the mistakes again. Making ourselves accountable to someone is a really positive thing to do. It helps us to live in the light and not to keep scurrying about in the darkness trying to hide the things we’d rather others didn’t see.
Then verse 14 tells us that,
“Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.”
In the end it is God to whom we answer and while it’s good to confess our sins to each other it’s worth remembering that in the end He will be our judge. All these other verses will serve to guide us and steer us in the right direction but if we don’t recognise where it will all end up we miss the point don’t we?
Heavenly Father, I pray that you would help me today to get rid of all the things I have hidden in dark places. Help me to have the courage to bring them into your glorious light so that all of my shortcomings may be washed in the blood of Jesus who made everything right. Amen.