June 24, 2012

Clear Confession

Psalm 32

Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” … Then David said … “I have sinned against the LORD.”
—2 Samuel 12:7, 13


It may shock us that David, “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), chose to sin deliberately against God. What could King David have been thinking? Did he really think he could get away first with adultery and then with murder to cover up his sin with Bathsheba? (For the background story, see 2 Samuel 11-12.)

David’s actions might surprise us, but we have also seen Christian leaders caught in similar situations. Perhaps in their powerful positions they became proud and thought they could make up their own rules.

David later felt a deep sense of guilt. His words in Psalm 32 may well refer to this episode in his life. (See also Psalm 51.) And when God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David, he abandoned his coverup and owned up to his wrongdoing.

It’s better to confess our sins before we are forced to do so by getting caught. Bearing a burden of guilt will handicap our spiritual growth in many ways. It will hinder our prayers and worship. It will dampen our joy and erode our confidence. It will entangle us with worry. What’s more, continued denial will only damage our reputation with others when our sin becomes known.

Why not come to the God of mercy and experience what David did: “You forgave the guilt of my sin.”

Lord, I have too often tried to deny my sin. Give me courage to open my heart in honesty to you and others. I trust in your steadfast, forgiving love. Amen.

About the author — David Zandstra

David Zandstra is a retired pastor living in Marietta, Georgia, having served five churches from New Jersey to California. Along with other ministries, he counsels clients of a pregnancy resource center. He acknowledges his indebtedness to the training and resources of Peacemaker Ministries. David and his wife, Margie, have three children and six grandchildren.

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