He that conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13 NASB
Confesses - “Yada, yada, yada,” is a common Hebrew phrase that has made its way into English. We are familiar with its idiomatic meaning – “and more like that” or something similar. You know that the Hebrew verb, yada’, is the general verb for “to know” in all of its wide range on contexts. But you might not know that the phonetically similar verb, yada (spelled Yod-Daleth-Hey rather than Yod-Daleth-Ayin), is connected to confession. What you might find even more interesting is that this yada is also the word for “to praise, to give thanks, and to thank.” In one of its forms, toda, it is often found in the Hebrew expression for “thank you.” The emphasis of the word is agreement with the facts. Confession is really saying, “You’re right about me, God. Your assessment of who I really am is the truth.”
Today we have made confession of sins into a religious ritual. It might be a trip to the altar; it might be joining an elder for prayer; it might be taking our place in the booth. The truth is that none of these things are real confession. Confession is always an act of admission before God. The outward signs of confession can be mimicked, but the inward examination of our hearts cannot.
The amazing thing about confession before God is that He already knows all about us. Confession before God has a self-reflexive motive. It is for our own good, not His. Why does God require that we reveal our secrets to Him if He already knows them all? Because we need to see ourselves from His point of view if we are going to become what He designed us to be. Confession is for us. It clears our air. It focuses our sight. We can’t be released from the destructive power of a secret as long as we expend energy to keep it secret, even if God knows it anyway.
Confession is just like forgiveness. My refusal to forgive hurts me. So do those sins I have not confessed. Admitting my true condition before God clears the ground for change just like forgiving someone else’s sin against me repairs my inner damage. Confession and restoration go hand in hand.
This verse tells us that agreeing with God about my real moral state and turning away from practicing what doesn’t fit His design guarantees compassion. As long as I refuse to see myself from God’s perspective, I will hurt inside. When I face the truth, the pain of admission will be followed by mercy. That’s a promise!
Topical Index: confess, yada’, praise, acknowledgement, forgiveness, Proverbs 28:13