Who is a God like You, bearing iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not remain angry forever, because He delights in benevolence. He will again have compassion upon us. He will tread down our iniquities, and cast all of our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19
Sin and Confession
“I can’t believe I did that! What was I thinking?” I moaned miserably to God, my mental voice rising to nearly a shriek as I came to the word, “thinking”. “What got into me that I would do such a stupid thing? Beyond stupid – I’ll call it what it was – sin, plain and simple.”
“Oh, never mind,” I mumbled in disgust as I continued my mental “conversation” with the Lord. “I know exactly what got into me – the devil! The enemy of my soul put the idea into my mind and tempted me, and I listened to him and went along with it, led like a dumb sheep to the slaughter. Lord, I’m so sorry!”
All of this was true. I really had sinned… although, not according to the world. Had I confessed to worldly unbelievers, most of them would have laughed and remarked that I was merely being wise.
Ah, but you probably know what God’s word has to say about those who think they are wise when really, they’re not.
And of course, as children of the King, we are held to higher standards than the rest of the world. Many things that the world calls intelligent, God calls iniquity. So often what they call right, He calls wrong. And what they call smart, He calls sin.
There was no way around it. I had sinned and fallen short, and I knew it. So, it was good to confess it to God and repent.
I’d already done it. Days before, immediately after having been tempted and starting to do the devil’s will instead of God’s, I had come to a screeching halt and, horrified and angry at myself, had ‘fessed up to my Father what I did, repented, and asked His forgiveness. Then I asked Jesus to wash me clean by the power of His blood. All of which was immediately granted, while He threw my sins into the depths of the sea, because that’s what God does.
Around and Around We Go
Yet there I was later in the week, remembering what I had done, still grieving over it, and angry at myself. Still in shock and rhetorically asking myself, what was I thinking? Then I was appalled when I suddenly realized that by going over and over my sin, I was sinning again.
There are many verses in both the Old and New Testaments that speak of God forgiving our sins. Besides the verse from Micah, 1 John 1:9 says that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Yet there I was, not taking Him at His word.
By continuing to beat myself up, moaning and groaning about my sin and wallowing in guilt, I was not only acting like the classic, self-centered little girl who excels at being a drama queen (and thus sinning in that regard), but my actions were basically telling God, “I’m not so sure You forgave me the first time around. I don’t know that I can trust You on that.”
Ouch. I had managed to get myself into a vicious circle of sin, going around and around the mountain in the wilderness.
A Cycle of Shame and Abuse
Have you ever done this? Have you ever asked yourself why?
I know why I did it. I came up with a few reasons: One, I was ashamed of myself for the way I had acted, and being a fallen human being, realized that I sometimes have trouble forgiving others, especially myself. A twisted logic ensued, causing me to subconsciously think that if I, a mere human, would be reluctant to forgive my own sins and the sins of others, how much more reluctant must God be?
We enter a cycle of heaping shame and abuse upon ourselves when we do this.
Two, there’s something sickly satisfying about being a martyr, even if it’s only a fake, self-made one. Again, I never intentionally set out to be a “martyr” and wind up feeling sorry for myself. But I think the thing at play here is a weird sort of legalistic self-righteousness… that thing that says, “Look at me and all the good rules I follow for God! It’s so hard… but I manage, because I love God and He is worthy of all my effort! And I know He’s pleased by what I do.”
Which, speaking for myself, is a really weird thing, because I’ve never been a good follower of man-made rules. I loathe legalism.
So why do I get myself into this vicious cycle? Why do any of us?
Ultimately, it’s because Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and in addition to running to God to tattle on us and point his claws at us, his dirty little minions are constantly hard at work, whispering innuendos and bad ideas into our minds.
“Are you sure God forgives your sins? Even that? That really was bad. You should be ashamed of yourself. So what if it happened ten years ago? You still did it. Besides… you know you’re supposed to be broken over your sin. You’re supposed to confess and repent of it. God loves it when you do that. It really pleases Him.”
And away we go. Again.
Get off that High Horse
Let’s get down from the devil’s high horse and then step off that merry-go-round from hell, that keeps us circling the mountain in the wilderness. Let’s remember and meditate on those wonderful verses that speak of forgiveness and believe them.
Verses like Hebrews 8:12: “For I will forgive their iniquities and remember their sins no more.” Of course, God doesn’t have amnesia, but He chooses to forget about our sins, casting all of our sins into the depths of the sea, and we should, too. Let’s take God at His word! We can remind ourselves of Titus 1:2 where it says God cannot lie.
Don’t Go Fishing!
God completely forgives our sins, but He also takes it a step further, as you will see.
I want to leave you with this quote from the late, great, Corrie ten Boom who, with her sister, Betsie, was thrown into a concentration camp in Holland for the “crime” of hiding Jews from the invading Nazis (I highly recommend their story, The Hiding Place). Among many other wonderful “Corrie quotes” this one stands out for us today and illustrates God’s “extra step”:
“God casts all our sins into the depths of the sea. Then He puts up a sign: NO FISHING!”