Creatures of Habit: Confession

Day 2 of 7 • This day’s reading


Confession: The How of The Habit 

It is worth starting today’s discussion of how to practice confession with a bit of a warning. So here it is, our failure to practice confession is not for lack of understanding how to do it. If we are not practicing confession, it is probably that we understand the “how” and everything that entails very well. Because in essence, confession is very simple. In the words of David, it is so basic, it is like it’s in our very bones. 

Confession is the practice of saying, “I am guilty.” 

Who do we go to in confession? In the 12 Steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous program, step five is often known as “Confession.” Here confession is described as the step in which we, “admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” God, ourselves, another human being. 

Why do we confess? Why would we ever make a practice of doing something that has the potential to be so embarrassing, humbling, exposing? In Psalm 32, we get a front-row seat to David’s VERY humbling practice of confession. David begins with the affirmation that the one whose transgressions have been forgiven is full of joy. Don’t miss this. To have transgressed and to have experienced forgiveness is cause for joy. And what leads us from our transgressions to our forgiveness and on to joy? That’s right, confession. 

When do we confess? Again, we can look to David in Psalm 32. David says not to waste another second. Immediately is the word David uses. Immediately go to God. As mentioned before, our practice of confession could (and most often should) involve another human being, because we do not sin, and make harmful choices, and cause pain in a vacuum. We hurt other people. And so, our first move is to God, where we find forgiveness. But our work is not done. We must then also move (quickly, immediately!) toward the people we have wronged. And there, in those relationships, when we offer confession, we can find healing for everyone involved. So why waste another second. Freedom, joy, and healing are waiting on the other side! 

  • When was the last time you said, “I am guilty”?

  • Do you have a harder time confessing to God, yourself, or another person?

Today, read Psalm 32 and reflect on the joy of forgiveness.