IT IS WRITTEN (NEHEMIAH)
THE FREEDOM OF CONFESSION
PART II: WHY?
 Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.
(Nehemiah 9:33 ESV)
Yesterday we began talking about the beauty and necessity of confession in the Christian’s life. Today we’ll spend some time dealing with why we need to confess. And the short answer is, “Because we mess up.” We confess because if we don’t, we carry that mess around with us, and it only gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier.
Throughout Nehemiah 9, the people utterly aware of their sin at this moment, raw with emotion, acknowledging their guilt with no excuses whatsoever. After reciting God’s faithful protection of them from Abraham all the way through their deliverance from Egypt, we read in Vs.16- “But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.” Vs. 26- “Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you , and they committed great blasphemies.” God saves them, and then of course by vs. 28: But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them.” And finally, the capstone of confession, personal responsibility: Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wicked.”
Confession comes from a recognition of our guilt, an open, vulnerable, acknowledgment of our great need.
Tim Keller tells the story of Andrew Delbanco, a humanities professor at Columbia University. Some years ago he was doing research on Alcoholics Anonymous and was attending AA meetings around the country. One Saturday morning in a New York City church basement he was listening to well dressed younger guy talk about his problems. Everyone in his life was to blame for his problems. All his mistakes were due to the injustice and betrayals of others. He spoke of how he was going to avenge himself on all who had wronged him. “His every gesture gave the impression of grievously wounded pride,” Delbanco wrote. It was clear that the young man was trapped in his need to justify himself, and that things could only get worse and worse in his life until he recognized this. While he was speaking, a black man in his forties, in dreadlocks and dark shades, leaned over to Delbanco and said, “I used to feel that way too, before I achieved low self-esteem.”
Have you achieved low self esteem? It is only then that you can experience the glorious freedom of confession…. When you come to know that in spite of your failures, and sin, like the people of Israel, you become entirely dependent upon His mercy.
Soli Deo Gloria,