You may have heard the saying, “Confession is good for the soul.” I looked up the source of this saying, and it turns out that it’s from an old (like 1621 or so) Scottish proverb, and that it actually reads, “Open confession is good for the soul.” Now that’s a good modifier. It’s also a real contrast with the “Ooops, sorry about that” kinds of confessions that we hear these days from politicians, celebrities, sports figures, and yes, sadly, too many spiritual leaders.
Then we encounter Nehemiah’s admission of his people’s, his family’s, and his own guilt. What is most striking is what we don’t see. We don’t find any excuses, blame-shifting, or “sorry, but” kind of half measures. Just honest, raw confession of sin to a holy God.
We see the same kind of heart in David in the Psalms:
When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
See, when we try to hide our guilt, manage our image, or simply pretend to be better than we really are, we suffer. We miss out on the freedom of living in the truth, of walking in the light of openness. Look at what resulted from David’s truth-telling:
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
The funny thing is, when we confess openly to God, we’re not telling Him anything new. He already knows! And since He does, and since Jesus’ sacrifice has paid the price for our sin, there is real freedom to be found in Him.
So, if you’ve been hiding out a bit, try some honest confession. It really is good for the soul.