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home : religion : religion May 25, 2020

3/1/2020 12:15:00 AM
A Deeper Confession

Rev. Susan Smith
Emanuel Reformed Church

Now that the season of Lent has begun, many people of faith are more willing to look at their sin and their need for forgiveness. It isn’t easy or pleasant to think about those things we have done or are doing that are outside of God’s will for us. During Lent we get honest, confess our sin, and prayerfully prepare ourselves to receive the forgiveness that is ours at Easter when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

One of the most well-known scriptures that many of us study at this time of year is Psalm 51 where King David humbly confesses his sin before God. He was confessing his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah.

Psalm 51[a]
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so, you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely, I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins  and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

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David confesses that he sinned against God and God only but is that true? Yes, he sinned against God, but it seems to me that this confession is incomplete. Confessing his sin against God is the right thing to do but what about his sin against Bathsheba? Did she really have choice in resisting the king? David was in a position of power over her and her husband was away on the battlefield. The definition of sexual harassment is “uninvited behavior of a sexual nature especially by a person in authority”. Many women in the current “Me Too” movement have reported that men in authority over them pressured them into a sexual relationship and they felt they could not say no because he was in a position of power over them. Could Bathsheba have told the king no? I think not.

What about his sin against Uriah? He obediently went to the front lines of battle for his king and was killed for his loyalty. A deeper confession could have included the consequences of his sin in the lives of other people. Perhaps David should have confessed that he sinned against innocent subjects of his kingdom. He sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah by taking advantage of them with his power over them. He robbed them of their marriage and the potential to be parents together. Was he sorry for what he had done to them or just sorry that he had disobeyed God?

Go all the way when you confess your sin. Acknowledge the consequences that your sin has had in the lives of other people and experience God’s forgiveness more profoundly.

Rev. Smith is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church and she can be reached at 828-962-8196 or

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