We learn from an early age how to shift blame. 

  • “It wasn’t my fault; it was the dog’s!”
  • “My grades would’ve been better if the teacher was nicer to me!” 
  • “The coach is mean.” 
  • “Sissy did it!”

Perhaps we learned it from our siblings or parents. Maybe we heard Dad blaming Mom for his bad mood. Maybe our older siblings blamed us for everything, and we returned the favor. 

It’s not a new problem. The very first sin brought finger-pointing. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they tried to hide from God, but God tracked them down and confronted them. God asked Adam if he had disobeyed, and Adam blamed Eve. God asked Eve what she had done, and she blamed the serpent. See Genesis 3.8-13. 

What God wanted was for Adam and Eve to own up to their failures. At that point, the deed was done and couldn’t be undone. God was testing their character. Having failed the obedience test, would they at least pass the integrity test? Would they take ownership of their sin?

The Bible urges us to confess our sins. It allows us to rid ourselves of the toxic spiritual residue of our sins and brings us a step closer to reconciliation with God.

  • “For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin” (Psalm 38.18).
  • “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28.13).
  • “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James. 5.16).
  • “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1.9).

King David learned this the hard way. After committing adultery with Bathsheba, after murdering her husband Uriah, and after marrying her in a feeble effort to hide his sin, David pretended for at least a year that nothing had happened (2 Samuel 11). God finally confronted David through the prophet Nathan, and David confessed (2 Samuel 12). 

David later said, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin’” (Psalm 32.3-5).

Silence has its price. Confession has its reward.