He who covers his sins will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
Like many Proverbs, this one cuts right to the heart of our human reflexes. We try to cover our bad attitudes with a smile, our unkindness with excuses, our ingratitude with other peoples sins, our sins against our children with their sins against us. Whenever we sin, the first reaction of a human heart is to cover it up. Tear the leaves off of some nearby trees and try to hide from God. But here – God lays out for us how that will not work. Confessing your sin and forsaking it is the path to mercy.
Often times the reason that we don’t want to confess and forsake our sins is that we don’t want to admit that they were sins – we are too proud to want mercy. This can be especially true of petty sin. Why even stop to acknowledge it when you can pretend that it didn’t happen? But if we want our souls to prosper, we need to practice confessing and forsaking our sins.
I feel like this verse sums up a very common problem that seems to happen in mothering circles. There are people who endlessly post pictures of their perfect lives on Pinterest and blogs, and they appear to have never struggled with anything in their lives. Then there are the people who want to be realistic. But the realism often hinges on sin. The realism is all about how we shouldn’t feel bad if we yelled at the kid because everyone does it. The realistic side is full of bitterness at the kinds of work that mothers do, bitterness at the fact that other mothers appear to be doing better than we are. They must be hiding something!
The problem here is that those are not our only two options. We are not invited to either live with hidden sin, or live with public sin. We are invited to mercy. So being “real” is totally healthy – so long as you are forsaking the sin. But often times women want to gather together to tell everyone that they sin instead of taking it to God. Airing your sin is not dealing with it. Confession, followed by forsaking it is dealing with it.
There is no need to pretend like your life is free of sin. We are all human, and we should not be trying to hide that fact from each other or God. But there is a step beyond that. Get it right. If you sin, when you sin, run for mercy. Do not try to sweep it under the “It’s crazy being a mom” rug. Do not “confess” things to your friends, and not to God.
Confession of sin is a foundation of blessing. If you do not feel like your soul is prospering, look at what you may be trying to hide from God. If you aren’t certain what is wrong, open your hands, and ask God to show you. God is mercy, and He loves to forgive.