Just admit that you rebelled and worshiped foreign gods under large trees everywhere. Jeremiah 3:13 (CEV)

Admitting guilt.

Not an easy thing to do is it? It’s so much easier to explain our actions than just to say, “I was wrong.” It’s even harder to say, “I was wrong and I knew I was wrong when I did it but I wanted to do it anyway…so I did.”

A friend of mine tells about how frustrating his daughter can be a times. She’s a sweet girl. Compassionate, kind, smart…but rebellious. On several occasions she’s been caught doing something that she knows is wrong, but has gone ahead and done it anyway. When confronted about these things her classic response is: “But I want to.”

Translation? I knew it was wrong when I did it. I knew I’d get in trouble when I was doing it. I know I’m busted now and even though I’m being punished, I’m glad I did it because I liked it.

Before you pass judgment on my friend’s daughter or question his parenting skills, ask yourself this question. Isn’t that what we do when we choose our own way and not God’s way? We know we shouldn’t’ think that way, but…; we know we shouldn’t say this, but…’; we know it’s wrong but…’.

God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah to a stubborn rebellious people. He tells them, I know you’ve been unfaithful. You know you’ve been unfaithful. There’s no question about guilt here, not implication that you didn’t know better. I’m not asking for explanations. I’m not asking for promises [because frankly, you never keep them anyway!]. All I’m asking is admission of your guilt.

God doesn’t ask us to admit our guilt to prove we are wrong. He doesn’t ask us to admit our guilt so he is sure we are guilty. He simply wants us to admit our weakness. Why? Because his desire is to free us from the guilt, not condemn us; his desire is to forgive us, not criticize us; his desire is to lift us up, not burden us.

God likens Israel to a prostitute with more lovers than he can count! Not a very kind assessment of them. Yet his desire isn’t to expose their rebellion and failure, his desire is to cleanse them. Confession of sin is hard, but living in guilt is harder. Confession frees us to live, but guilt burdens us with baggage that follows us through life.

It’s interesting that God only asks one thing of the Israelites, confession. He’s already decided he’ll take them back. He’s already committed to loving them and forgiving them and welcoming them back into his arms. All they have to do is admit they were wrong.

The same is true for us today. Your Heavenly Father knows you are weak. He knows you are rebellious. He knows that even if he forgives you, you’ll do it again. But…He loves you and wants a relationship with you. All you have to do is admit it’s your fault. Hard to do? Yes, but essential to live freely in God’s grace.

PRAYER: Father, my failures are constantly before me. Still I find it hard to admit my weakness, even though I know you love me. Give me the strength to confess my weakness so that I can live in your freedom. Amen.