Anyone who is even casually acquainted with professional football has no doubt witnessed all the ways teams celebrate a touchdown. Sometimes the entire offensive line performs a carefully choreographed routine around the player scoring the touchdown. The more flamboyant receivers or running backs may simply perform a signature jig or dance.
For every offensive celebration, however, there is a demonstration of sheer disappointment from the defensive team—often full of blame and finger-pointing. Maybe they’re embarrassed, but they’ve sure got lots of excuses for what went wrong: somebody called the wrong play, a critical block or tackle was missed, there was an overlooked assignment, or a defensive player was simply physically miss-matched with his opponent. Sometimes players hang their heads, walking dejectedly off the field. Some literally point the blame at someone else.
While we should be slow to point the finger at others and quick to examine our own hearts and behaviors, this sort of show-case confession is embarrassing. True confession eliminates the whole blame game. Confession is the first step in defeating sin and eliminating blame. Sometimes the hardest part of dealing with a problem is admitting that we have one.
Much like some of our embarrassed NFL stars, many times we want to deny our own responsibility for our failings. We want to blame our parents, the culture, a lack of a proper education, or even God—that He’s somehow just against us. But Jesus urges us to take a second look when we’re ready to point the finger at someone (or something) else: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
Confession is simply agreeing with God about our sin. It affirms that God is just when He deals with our sins. By confessing we realign ourselves with God’s purposes and our joy is restored. Ongoing confession of sin to God is necessary and characterizes a follower of Jesus. As Christians, we are also to confess our sins to one another so that we can pray for each other.
God’s people have always recognized the importance of confession. David acknowledged to Nathan the prophet, and then to God, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13) When Isaiah saw the holiness of God he declared, “Woe to me…I am ruined! I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips….” (Isaiah 6:5) Daniel confessed his sins and the sins of his people (Daniel 9:20) True confession takes honesty and humility, but it sure beats the “Blame Game” for grace and healing.
Personal Application: Let the Lord expose any sin or bitterness (blame) in your life. Now confess this sin or bitterness according to the pattern in 1 John 1:9. And if you’re struggling to shed a habitual sin, confess that sin to a brother whom you trust. Ask for prayer and support as you seek to break free from that sin.
Wendell Morton and Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5