There used to be a feature movie on television that I tried to never miss. It was always some sort of murder mystery featuring Charlie Chan or Mr. Wong or Mr. Moto. Apparently, Chinese men made great detectives. It was kind of strange to me that none of these were ever played by actual Chinese men but I liked the whole “Whodunit” film performed in chopped up English by guys pretending to have a Chinese accent.
These movies would usually start out with a murder and then there would be subsequent murders along the way. Charlie (or one of the lesser known detectives) would be called in to save the day. The cops would think they had everything figured out at some point and arrest a guy. They’d put him in a room and begin an interrogation. The interrogation never seemed to go so well and soon the cop would become angry. “Confess or I’ll…” the threats would ensue as the policeman would attempt to intimidate the suspect into confessing. No confession would come and the suspect would be released by the frustrated officer.
Charlie would calmly go about his investigation and eventually gather all the suspected perpetrators into a room near the murder scene. He would recount the facts in the case and the tension would mount. The killer would soon make a break for it, realizing that he was caught and turn out the lights. I can’t imagine this ever happening in real life but it was typical in the world of Charlie Chan. The lights would come back on and the crook would be apprehended. Charlie had known all along who it was and had alerted the cops to be ready when the lights went out. Charlie hadn’t been surprised at all that the killer turned off the lights since it had happened in three of the last four movies. Then, once the murderous felon had been caught he would confess, enlightening everyone in the room of his motives and actions. After confessing, he was hauled off to jail and either spent the rest of his life in the slammer or given the chair for his crimes.
Confession seems to be the predecessor to swift, severe punishment. It is a real shame, though, because it is an important part of my spiritual well-being. God goes to all the trouble of forgiving us of our sins and yet I still have a tough time verbalizing my deeds to him. He already knows what I have done and why I did it. But I still try to hold back and keep him from knowing the whole truth. There is no reason not to tell all. The punishment for the atrocities I have hidden has already been meted out upon Christ. He already did my time. I must simply confess and repent.
When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
This is quite the opposite effect of the confession in the old Charlie Chan movies. My sins are forgiven and all my guilt is gone.
1 John 1:9
But if we confess our sins to him,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
I can be cleansed. Confession brings me to a place where I am honestly sharing with God not only my wants and desires but my weakness and failure. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I don’t go to him as a guy that deserves to sit at his feet. I don’t have to pray like some TV preacher when I talk to him. I can take my struggles and problems to him. I can take my dirt and grime. He will cleanse me. I have no reason to try to hide anything from him…EVER!
God, I bring all my shortcomings and failures to You. My shame will not cause me to hide anything from You. I bring it all into your light. Cleanse me and keep me clean. Amen.