Is it Really that Hard to Admit We’re Sinners?
Aug 23, 2015 · Courtney Jacob
Dave and Scott opened this week’s program by stating how hard it is for us to admit that we’re sinners. When I heard this, I scoffed, thinking “Really? I feel like that’s never been hard for me.” I grew up in the faith, so I’ve heard about sin and being a sinner since I was little. There was no dramatic realization of my depraved sinful state or ‘come to Jesus’ moment for me.
But as we continued to record the program, I thought more about their opening words and I realized that maybe it is harder than I initially concluded and that maybe ‘not admitting our sin’ can look different than straight up denial.
I began to reflect on those moments during worship service set aside for silent confession. My church practices these regularly, and often I have had no idea what to confess. During many of those moments I’ve stood there waiting for time to pass, waiting for the next part of service to begin. It certainly makes me grateful for a God who knows and forgives before we even know what we need. But this reflection made me realize that while my head knows I’m a sinner and I’m more than willing to admit it, my heart does not always break for the sin I indulge in nor do I naturally assume a posture of confession.
The Posture of Confession
What really helped me understand my unwillingness to embrace a posture of confession were the lyrics of a band called For King and Country. Recently, I heard them perform at an outdoor Christian concert.They closed their portion of the concert with a song entitled “O God Forgive Us.” When they sang the following lyrics, my head and heart connected and the Holy Spirit illuminated what I’d been missing:
With our white flag sailing in the night
Eyes pointed to the sky
Hands up and open wide, open wide
For me, this is what’s hard about acknowledging my sin. It’s not the verbal or mental recognition of my sinfulness, it’s the position of vulnerability that admitting my sin puts me in.
Think about it. Eyes to the sky. Hands up and open wide. That’s an exposed posture. In that posture, you can’t hide, you can’t protect yourself. This posture opposes our human instincts and leaves us exposed.
Yet the posture of confession brings much that is good. It opens us up to God and positions us to receive God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. The difficult part is getting past our inclination to protect our hearts. But when we do ‘lift our eyes to the sky’ and ‘open our arms wide’, that is when the Holy Spirit can truly lead us into meaningful confession and merciful healing.
Back to Grace and the Holy Spirit
Now, truly yielding to the vulnerability of confession may not be as hard for you as it for me. But I hope my wrestling reminds you of the importance of listening for the Holy Spirit’s prompting. God has not left us alone on the journey of confession and forgiveness, but has blessed us with a guide. The one who calls our hearts to God, convicts us, teaches us, and grows us. Like Sue said at the end of the episode, the Holy Spirit is constantly working and nothing - inside of us or outside of us - happens apart from the Spirit’s work.
I’m grateful that God’s grace does not wait for me to admit my sin, but next time I’m invited into a moment of confession, I pray the Holy Spirit will remind me of Biblical words of confession - like those of King David in Psalm 51 - and that I might pray those words, confess my sinful nature and allow my heart and mind to both be open and fully ready to praise God for his gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
-- Courtney Jacob, Groundwork Content & Managing Producer