“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalm 51:1-2
There were a couple of young boys who got into a theological discussion about God and the Bible. One boy was a Catholic and the other was a Protestant. As you probably know, Catholics practice confession to priests. As these kids were arguing back and forth about things they didn’t totally understand about their faith, the Catholic boy would say, “My priest says this…” and the Protestant boy would retort, “Well my pastor says this…”After a lot of back and forth, the Catholic kid finally said, “Well, my priest knows more than your pastor.” The Protestant kid answered, “He ought to. You tell him everything!"
Confession. It’s a necessary part of being free from the guilt and shame of our sin. Too often, however, instead of running to God and coming clean about our sin we try to cover it up; and that always makes the problem worse. The first thing that has to take place if we are going to be released from guilt is an honest confession. The only knife that is sharp enough to lance the boil of sin and get rid of the infection of guilt is the knife of confession. Remember this – there is one thing God will never accept for confession of sin and that is an excuse. You can never try to alibi your way out of sin. It just makes the pain of guilt and the infection of a guilty conscience worse.
Sin is not a cold; it is a cancer. King David understood this truth. In Psalm 51:1-2, he uses three words to describe his sin. First, he uses the word transgression, which means, “to cross a forbidden boundary or to rebel against God’s law.” Next, he uses the word iniquity, which means, “perversity.” The last, and most common, word he uses is sin, which means, “to miss the mark.” King David doesn’t call sin a “mistake” or a “misfortune” or a “misjudgment.” He calls it what God calls it. That is what the word “confess” means – to agree with God on what sin is.
Once King David identifies his sin, he asks for three things. First, he asks God to blot out his transgressions. Sin leaves a record. David wants his record wiped clean by the blood of Jesus. Then, David asks God to “wash away” his iniquity. Sin doesn’t just make you guilty; it makes you dirty! Like the Prodigal Son, you wind up in the pigpen of life. And finally, David asks God to cleanse him from his sin. The word “cleanse” means, “purge.” He is asking for a spiritual detox because that is the only thing that will release us from our guilt.
Dear God, I am asking you right now to do a spiritual detox, just like you did for David, so that I can be released from any guilt and shame I have over my sin. I don't want to live in bondage to guilt and shame. I don't want to be overwhelmed by sin. I want to walk in your freedom, your mercy, and your grace. Help me Lord. I need you. In Jesus' name, amen.