“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10)
We all want to feel good about ourselves. Our instincts and our culture both base our self-worth on being good, useful and morally upright. Often, when someone we know dies, we comfort one another by saying, “They were such a good person.”
But scripture reminds us that all of us are sinful. All of us make mistakes, think and act based on our own desires rather than God’s, and often ignore the needs of others while taking more than enough care of ourselves. Most of us try to do the right thing most of the time at what we do. But most of also all too easily ignore all that we don’t do. In fact, it may be that our sins of omission are often greater than the sins we commit.
That’s why confession is such a central part of what it means to be a Christian. The ability to own our sins allows us to rely on God’s grace. It reminds us that God is God and that we aren’t. It points us to our need for the love of God that comes to us in Christ. And when it goes well, it shapes us to be more gracious and less judgmental with others when their sins cause us pain or annoyance. To admit to needing grace is a humbling thing. Humble people are less likely to beat up others when they make mistakes.
Oddly enough, our imperfections are not the disaster we often make them out to be. In fact, if we would all simply admit that we are fallible and need grace, many of our attitudes and relationships would change almost immediately. So, don’t resist admitting that you need grace. It is the path to grace and because of grace we discover that in the end – love wins.