Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. – Pr 28:13.
The Weight Of Sin
As he lay there, staring up at the ceiling in the middle of the night, his heart began to pound. He wrestled with unconfessed sin and was terrified of the consequences if people found out. He couldn’t continue carrying this heavy burden of sin around with him, but he didn’t see any other way. To continue would mean his death. But it seemed turning back would also bring death.
Have you been there? Carrying around the weight of secret sin? It can be easy for us to trick ourselves into thinking, “Nobody has to know. This isn’t really hurting anyone. Why does repentance mean I have to tell people about it?” The consequences of making our sin known to others can seem tremendous. We wonder if the cost of repentance is worth it.
The True Cost of Repentance
Proverbs speaks right to the heart of this idea. Continuing in sin is never better. It will never lead to prospering. The way the Hebrew language works, this verse is actually giving us four different indicatives, not just two. The first two are obvious.
- Whoever conceals his sin will not prosper.
- Whoever confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
But, the structure of the original language is set up to contrast the different subjects and objects, so that we can also take away the following:
- Whoever conceals his transgressions will not obtain mercy
- Whoever confesses and forsakes them will prosper.
Sin loves to lie to us. It convinces us that hiding is best. We can do just fine all by ourselves. We don’t need those other people. Confession and repentance is not really the way to prosper. Only bad things will happen if you confess and turn.
Scripture tells a different story. The only way to truly prosper is living in repentance. Repentance is turning away from something to Jesus. The specific language used in this verse is forsaking. We don’t receive God’s mercy and blessing simply by saying “I’m sorry.” We receive his blessing and mercy when we turn completely away from it, leaving it behind. Notice also, prospering is held in parallel with receiving mercy. Obtaining this mercy is how Christians truly live the good life, as defined by Scripture. Other places in Scripture hold this out to be true. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9).”
Bring Your Sin To The LightDon’t buy the lie that concealing your sin will make you happy. It won’t. Only forgiveness will. Only in Jesus will your deepest longings be fulfilled. If you are reading this today and are struggling with secret sin, confess and forsake it. Bring a brother or sister into your struggle so they can help you. Confess your sins and repent. Practice walking in the light as 1 John 1:6-7 tells us. The ramifications of that confession may be significant, but it’s the only way to find true life. If your pastor or friend is truly a disciple of Christ, what you will find is not banishment, but mercy. That’s what we all truly need most and it’s the surest way to prosper.