I read this gem in my Lent devotional this morning, from philosopher Søren Aabye Kierkegaard:
“Sin is the despairing refusal to find your deepest identity in your relationship and service to God. Sin is seeking to become oneself, to get an identity, apart from God.”
I don't like thinking about my sin, even though it seems I'm always aware of it and always fighting shame against it. But it is a private shame, one I push beneath workflow and to the corners of social plans. I don't like that I stumble and fail and forget lessons I learned the hard way. I don't like that I require crazy amounts of patience from God, as He reteaches my heart to submit and love and serve and obey.
But, when I finally speak my sin into the light I realize how much energy I spent keeping it in the dark. Not that my efforts to hide selfishness and pride can keep anything from my Maker (and, of course I know that), but shame is a great and sly motivator.
When I confess my sin, I distance myself from any identity associated with rebellion and lean on the identity of the One who saves. But this relief only comes by way of honest confession.
So many times, I will kneel in church or pause for prayer and search my mind for something to confess. Satan somehow clears all the sin I have been shamefully hiding and replaces that elephant space in my mind with silent whiteness. My thoughts don't even wander, there is just nothing there at all. Later, of course, the sins creep out from the corners to remind me that I am unworthy.
My heart needs confession (honesty about my sin) because my heart desperately needs forgiveness (honesty about salvation).
There is just no way around it, but there is also no greater glory to be found. God welcomes our confession and exchanges us a crown. He covers us in His grace and grants us inexplicable joy.
He leads us like a shepherd and chases us when we stray. What a beautiful friend we have in Jesus, friends - that He would chase down a forgetful and frightened heart to offer perfect freedom from shame.