1) There is as expression: "Confession is good for the soul." Yet many object to the Prayer of Confession in worship because they say they don't "feel guilty." Do you see a role for confession in your life? In the worship of your congregation?
2) Why do you think Kenneth Samuel says that the cover-up is often as bad as or even worse than the original misdeed?
Chicken Soup for the Soul
"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away . . . . Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity." - Psalm 32:3-5
As a prank, I, along with four of my college senior class colleagues conspired to steal the bell that was stationed at a corner of our college square. After we'd done the deed around 3 a.m. one morning, we delighted in hearing the utter befuddlement and bewilderment that characterized the responses of various students regarded the missing icon.
The plot was a great source of amusement until our senior class voted to contribute a sizable sum for the replacement of the bell. At that point I had to speak up, because I couldn't rest well with the fact that my senior classmates were going to give good money to replace something that didn't need replacement, but return.
I went to the class president and told her that the bell would be returned. Of course, I implicated myself . . . but I was so ready to be free from the guilt that I was happy to sing like a bird.
And I was relieved to deal with the consequences of my actions (which amounted to a stern reprimand. As it turned out, we weren't the first seniors to pull that prank).
As I look back on the incident, my cover-up was as bad as or even worse than my misdeed itself.
Sin is an enticer. But after it entices us . . . it entangles us.
There is nothing that can free us from our conscientious entanglements like open, honest, full-throated confession. The truth about who we are and what we've done—even when we believe that what we did was harmless—is tonic for our souls.
Lord, help us to realize that even though we can live with cover-up and denial . . . we cannot live well. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.