Confession > Excuses
As parents, we hear a lot of excuses from our kids. One of my favorites is what I call the and poof excuse. An example would be: “How did your room get so messy?” “I don’t know! I was playing with toys and poof—it got messy.” This is one of the most unbelievable excuses: it’s like describing a magic trick and it’s easy to laugh at because it’s coming from a kid, but how many times have we tried the same tactic? I know I am guilty of this. Innumerable times, watching something I shouldn’t watch and getting caught, I’m sure I’ve said things like and poof. “I was just watching TV and poof—the bad show came on. I was just searching for (something good) and poof—the bad thing popped up. I was just scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and poof—the explicit image came up.” It’s not so funny when we see how we’ve used this excuse in our own lives.
Aaron tried this same excuse when he was found to be guilty of making the golden calf. Moses had been up on the mountain for forty days and God told him that the people down below had corrupted themselves. God even specifically told Moses that they had made a golden calf and were worshipping it as a god.
“Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, ‘What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?’
“‘Don’t get so upset, my lord,’ Aaron replied. ‘You yourself know how evil these people are. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.’ When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire—and out came this calf!’” (Exodus 32:21-24)
And poof. “All I did was throw their gold in the fire, I didn’t mean to make a calf and I certainly didn’t tell them to worship it!” Aaron got caught and he attempted to deny any wrongdoing. What actually happened is the people were complaining, so Aaron told them to give him all their gold and he purposefully melted down the jewelry and molded them into a calf.
“Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, ‘O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, ‘Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!’ The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” (Exodus 32:4-6)
It’s hard to confess guilt. Aaron, of course, was not alone in his avoidance of responsibility. After Adam and Eve had listened to the serpent and eaten from the tree, they realized they were naked. God was walking in the garden and they hid from Him. It’s the first instinct when we do something wrong: hide. God asked why they were hiding and Adam replied, “I was afraid because I was naked.”
“‘Who told you that you were naked?’ the Lord God asked. ‘Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?’
“The man replied, ‘It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’” (Genesis 3:11-12)
Adam didn’t accept full responsibility; in fact, he blamed God! “It was the woman you gave me….” If God hadn’t given him the woman, Adam would not have eaten from the tree. Eve dodged responsibility as well:
“Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What have you done?’
‘The serpent deceived me,’ she replied. ‘That’s why I ate it.’” (Genesis 3:13)
We’ve been coming up with excuses and lies and avoiding responsibility for our actions since the very first sin. Thus, it is in our nature to do so. It takes the strength of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s conviction to drive us to confession. We must be bold in the Spirit and know that those we are confessing to will be quick to forgive.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13)
When we have created a space that allows for faults and flourishes with forgiveness, it will make confession much easier and confession is vitally important. The following is an excerpt from my book, The Constant Battle.
A brief word of warning: The enemy may want you to believe that you have nothing to confess. Satan is the father of lies and he will do anything he can to try to stop you from confessing your sins to the ones you’ve sinned against. Stand firm in the truth and on God’s promises of the joy and freedom that comes after confessing. Be a slave no longer.
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” (1 John 1:8-10)
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)
“Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices.” (Acts 19:18)
We are still going to fall and sin, but when we do, let us confess our shortcomings openly and honestly, accepting the love and forgiveness and even discipline (Hebrews 12:6) that will follow.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.