Confessing the Wrong Sin
"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD'—and you forgave the guilt of my sin."1
Counselor Cecil Osborne pointed out, "When we are hiding a deeper sin or fault we often confess a lesser one all the more vigorously."
For instance, a friend of mine had been trying to overcome his smoking habit for 20 years without success. He had been judged for this by folk in his church for as many years. When he shared his struggle with me, I simply asked, "Why do you need to smoke?"
He looked at me with a blank stare as if to say, "Are you crazy, what are you talking about? I don't need to smoke!" He then mumbled a few incoherent words, turned around, and walked away. He died a few years later of cancer!
What I was trying to get him to see was that his smoking wasn't the real problem. It was the presenting problem or the symptom—the fruit of a deeper root! He was confessing the wrong sin. True, his addiction to tobacco was a problem but it was the symptom of a deeper problem which he apparently didn't want to look at.
The same is true of all addictions and many of our negative and destructive behaviors. To overcome these we need to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves, with God and with at least one trusted friend or counselor. Yes we need to acknowledge the symptoms but ask God to reveal to us the truth about the causes behind the symptoms. We may also need to ask God to give us the courage to see these causes since most of us, because of the fear of facing the unknown, don't want to see them.
Admitting and praying about the truth is the kind of prayer that God loves to hear and always answers. As His Word says, "The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth."2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be willing not only to admit and confess my addictions and sins, but also face me with the truth about any deeper, hidden sins and faults that may be causing me to act out in self–destructive behaviors. And lead me to the help I need to overcome and resolve these. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Psalm 32:1-5 (NIV).
2. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).