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“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalm 32:3).

WE NEED TO ACCEPT THE LORD’S VERDICT CONCERNING OUR SINS. Our sins can be forgiven if we accept His plan for their forgiveness, but a part of the plan is repentance — and repentance includes taking honest responsibility for what we’ve done. To the best of our present understanding, we must see the seriousness of our sins and enter a plea of “guilty as charged.” When we fail to do this, by hiding our sin or trying to minimize it, our situation just keeps getting worse. “When I kept silent,” David said, “my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.”

It is interesting to contrast the honesty of David (2 Samuel 12:13) with the excuse-making of Saul (1 Samuel 15:15,24). Unlike Saul, who wanted to rationalize his deeds and soften the blow as much as possible, David wanted to hear the worst-case indictment of his character by the God of truth — so that he could repent. The truth can be painful, as we all know, but David wanted only the truth. “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults” (Psalm 19:12 NKJV). “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23,24).

All of us want other people to see us favorably, but I’ll tell you something else: we want to see ourselves favorably. When we have sinned, we will spare no effort to make the situation seem as innocent as possible in our own thinking. What we did may not have been the best, we think, but the “mistakes” we made were “understandable.” But the more time we waste trying to spin the story to our advantage, the longer it will be before we can be forgiven.

Thanks to the gospel of Christ, there is no sin we can’t be forgiven of. But forgiveness is only for the honest. Like the penitent tax collector in Luke 18:9–14, we must be willing to say, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” It may seem more comfortable to stay in the darkness and try to preserve our flattering self-image with denials of the truth, but there is nothing but death in that cave. To be forgiven, we’re going to have to come out of hiding. In Jesus Christ there is life — but it is only in the light of truth that we can live.

“If my hangups and negatives are called sin by our Lord, then sin it is” (Bob Turnbull).

Gary Henry — +

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