“14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
On Christmas Eve, I was at the door of the sanctuary of our church, receiving and greeting people coming to worship and celebrate the birth of Christ. At some point, someone stopped and shared with me, about some of the things she recently learned and rediscovered. She was telling me about a number of things, among them, the importance of confession. I did not think much of the conversation until the day after, when the Lord reminded me of one of my preferred passage in the OT, i.e. 2Chro 7:14. I then realized that, besides the obvious that one usually confesses to the Lord, I was not as active as I should have been in this “department”. If there is one thing that surely opens the heart of God and the gates of heavens, it is certainly the realization and the confession of our sins. In the passage quoted above, like in many others, there is a promise of great blessings for our nation, our church, or for anyone practicing this discipline with the help of the Spirit of God who can guide us when we don’t know what to say. In 2 Chron. 7:14, confession focuses on sins, but it does not have to be limited to that. It can also be related to our struggles, inadequacies, our failures to be who we are called to be, or to love as we are supposed to love: God, our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Confessing our lack of love and our shortcomings is an expression of dependence on God and an admission of our need for His help for change in our life.
Someone once told me something that underscore an important truth taught repeatedly in Scriptures. God’s love is unconditional no matter what, but his blessings aren’t. Of course, sometimes God surprises us with blessings we did not even ask for or even deserve. But based on many passage of scriptures, God’s blessings are conditional. They are conditional to our spiritual posture and attitude.
If there is something that opens up the heart of God, as described above, there is also on the other hand something that closes the heart of God towards us. It is our pride expressed in multiples ways. Our culture often sees pride as a sign of strength and something to be honored and valued. However, this is not the case in the kingdom of God. God values humility and most people are often touched more profoundly by people who excel well in humility.
As James mentioned in his letter to the Jews of the Diaspora, “God oppose the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Ja. 3:6). We also have to think about the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee and the Publican to discover what Jesus thinks about pride and humility (Lk.18:9-14).
Confession is good for the soul, and for our spiritual life & growth. It opens the gates of heavens and the heart of God. It unleashes God’s blessings and transforms our lives. This is the power of confession.