On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent has separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. – Neh 9:1-2
Confessing sins is nothing new to the Christian life. It is all throughout the Bible and every time it is accompanied with a repentant heart. There is just something about confession that allows the soul to be healed back to God. Sometimes we confess between ourselves and the Lord and sometimes we just have to share our burdens. Here in Nehemiah we are seeing a public confession of sins in front of their people.
However, there are a couple of stand outs here I would like to address. First and foremost, confession is serious and not just a passing conversation. So, whether it is a public or private conversation it is important that our hearts are right and that our spirit is repentant. We cannot come to God with confession with a nonchalant attitude and expect anything to change. Our attitude and heart must be ready to change in order to confess properly.
Second, notice that the Israelites separated themselves. This is not because they wanted to exclude anyone, but some things are for those who are close and trusted, to witness. They were among brothers and sisters; there is a need for comfort and trust when confessing. Why? Because when we confess we bear our souls and broken spirits before others. We would hope to find compassion, but also privacy and honesty amongst the saved. Never take advantage of this and break that confidence.
When I have attended the Men’s Charges for All-In ministries, I have witnessed this very event. The confession of sins and the changing of lives. We were amongst brothers who were willing to serve and pray and just be there for one another through the process. Too many times we just hold on to too much junk. Confession is a reset button that allows the soul to heal and to be healed back to Christ. It is a release of junk that doesn’t belong to us; the throwing out of garbage.
Today is as good a day as any. If there is something on your heart or weighing on you, get rid of it through confession and repentance. It doesn’t have to be public, but it does have to be real. Share it with a trusted brother or sister in Christ. Let it go and accept the forgiveness that you have held at arm’s length for far too long.