If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us. 1 John 1:9-10
Although historians say it probably didn't happen, the story about George Washington and the chopping down of his father's cherry tree has a certain appeal.
You remember how the tale goes. George's father roars, "And who chopped down my cherry tree?" That's when young George comes forward and boldly says, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I am the one who chopped down your cherry tree."
I've often wondered, if I had been George's father, how I would have reacted to that kind of confession. I probably would have praised the honesty, but I'm almost positive I would have punished the chopping.
That's the way I felt about Mary Strey of Neillsville, Wisc.
Not so long ago, Mary called the 911 dispatcher and said, "I want to report a drunken driver." The dispatcher asked, "Are you driving behind them (meaning the drunken driver) now?"
Mary replied, "I am them."
Mary followed the dispatcher's orders. She pulled over to the side of the road. She turned on her hazard lights and she waited.
That's the way the police found her. She was cited for misdemeanor drunken driving. She goes to court on December 10th.
What's going to happen? There will probably be praise for the confession, punishment for the sin.
Confession. If the Church had a list of ideas that might be put on an endangered species list, confession would be at the top. Sure, there's general confession on Sunday mornings . . . maybe -- but individual confession for a specific sin? Well, those critters are getting mighty scarce.
Still, the apostle John does encourage us to confess our sins. That's because God wants us to acknowledge our sinful shortcomings, our terrible transgressions. When we do, we also end up admitting how much we need a Savior and how much we need the forgiveness Jesus has won for us with His life, death, and resurrection.
It's a strange thing: we sin, Jesus gets punished; we confess; Jesus forgives. Yes, it's a strange thing, but what a wonderfully strange thing it is.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, for Your sacrifice, for Your death and resurrection that frees men and women of their sins, I give thanks. Now may I be bold in witnessing to the wonders of what You have done and Your gift which gives joy in this world and hope for the next. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries