Jerry Bridges said, “Don’t believe everything you think. You cannot be trusted to tell yourself the truth.”
When it comes to our lives, few of us see ourselves accurately. We are often the last person to figure out what we’re good at, where we should spend our energies and talents, what dreams to pursue, when we’re making a poor decision or when we should act.
We think we’re good at figuring it out, but we rarely are.
That’s why perspective outside of ourselves, perspective from God and community, is so important.
Here’s why this is a problem.
We often make poor choices. We date the wrong person, take the wrong job. We find ourselves stuck in addictions that we wished we could let go of. We find ourselves spending our time with people and in places we wished we didn’t. In the end, this often leads to regret, shame, feeling forgotten, guilt and bitterness.
In 1 John, John is writing to his church that is struggling with sin and seeing themselves correctly.
There was a group in his church that, when it came to sin and struggles, thought they didn’t sin, they weren’t sinful (or as bad as our culture talks about it) and that there were no consequences to their sin. It didn’t do anything or harm anyone.
Now, no matter what you think of sin, you do things wrong. In fact, there’s a good chance that in the last hour you’ve done multiple things wrong. You may not call them sins. You might call them mistakes or failures or missed opportunities. But (and this is crucial) if we don’t see them correctly, we will miss God’s grace and forgiveness. And if we don’t see them correctly, we will end up with regret, shame, guilt and eventually bitterness.
This is why John points us to confession in one of the most popular verses in the Bible.
1 John 1:9 is a great reminder: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Confession is being honest with yourself and God about who you are and who He is.
It is seeing yourself through the lens God sees you, which is the only path to freedom.
This path takes us away from comparison, being the victim and even moping around. It takes us to freedom, because through confession we are able to let go. We are able to drop our bags of sin, guilt, shame and regret.