Our community was shocked by the hit-and-run death of Carlee Wines, a nineteen year old student at the University of Connecticut. Hundreds of students came from the university for the funeral. The family, friends and colleagues were praying that the person who caused this death would come forward and confess. Some even felt sorry for whoever did it arguing that it must be very difficult for them also.
About one week later, a newspaper article detailed that the mother of the young man who caused the hit-and-run advised him and the people in the car not to come forth. She had a meeting in a hotel with her son and the passengers in the car, instructing them what to do and telling them that she would take care of them if they got into more serious trouble.
Hiding or confessing sin is something that has been with us from the beginning of humanity. When Adam and Eve sinned against the Lord by eating fruit from the forbidden tree, they hid, and when God questioned them, they blamed one another – "Satan made me do it" said Eve; "the woman you made gave the fruit to me," said Adam.
King David experienced the same thing. He sinned with Bathsheba and then tried to cover it up. He committed adultery and in order to keep it quiet he sent her husband to die in the front lines of the battle. When he considered that all things went according to plan, Bathsheba sent the news that she was pregnant.
Yet, David continued to keep it quiet until God's prophet came to him and declared that he had sinned against the Lord. One can say that David was forced to confess. Yet, in another place, David presented the foolishness and the anguish of this position:
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When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. For day and night your hand was upon me, my strength was sapped as in the heat of the summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgression to the Lord and you forgave the guilt of my sin." (Ps. 32:3-5)
In Psalm 51:2-4, which is David's confession after Nathan has left, he makes one great statement about how sin affects not only the person against whom we have sinned, but it also affects our relationship with God.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, I have sinned and done evil in your sight so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
The Bible is consistent in its demand for confession. It commands us to confess to one another if we have done wrong. It encourages those who have been wronged to forgive (James 5:16), but there are many places where restitutions are prescribed. It commands us to confess our sins to God, for "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
(1 John 1:9)