"'After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'" Jeremiah 31:19
When we trust in Christ as the only way to have a relationship with the living God, we are unplugged from our sinful nature and plugged into the power of Christ; however, the sinful nature is not deleted from our lives. The old master calls out to us and his voice is familiar and inviting. And there are times when we stray to the land of sin. The apostle John wrote, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." But when "we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8-9).
What does confession look like? Our passage today gives us great insight into this important spiritual discipline.
"After I strayed, I repented." A flippant "I'm sorry" or "I'm sorry I got caught" does not cut it with God. Confession involves repentance. In repentance, I understand that I am heading in the wrong direction. I stop, turn around, and head back home. Repentance involves turning from the wrong path to move in the right direction.
"After I came to understand, I beat my breast." To beat one's breast was a figurative expression of mourning and grief. True confession involves sorrow for sinning against God. God does not take sin lightly; neither should we.
"I was ashamed and humiliated." When some share their salvation story, it is more about their sin than being saved from it. But we should never glory in our sin. We should be ashamed and humiliated by what we have done.
All of us sin. All of us stray. And all of us must understand and practice true confession.
Father, help me turn from my sin, grieve my rebellion, and be ashamed of what I have done. May I be one who never glories in my sin but glories only in the Savior who continues to deliver me from it. In Jesus' name. Amen.