The Practice of Confession

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” (Psalms 51:1 NIV)


This is what David prayed after the prophet Nathan called him out for his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba. David was the King of Israel, a shepherd boy turned war hero turned royalty, a man after God’s own heart. But David tried to keep his affair with Bathsheba, the wife of one of David’s best soldiers, a secret. And God, through Nathan, called David on it. And the house of David was marred forever because of it. It was a personal and political sin that never left David’s house. It forever changed Israel’s history.


This post is not a post about Christians confessing sins to God on a regular basis – although the Bible does call Christians to do that (James 5:16). This post is about when a nation is brought to its knees by the sins of its leaders. When a nation needs to come before God and confess its collective sins – so as to “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24 NIV)


Let’s not beat around the bush: what we saw today at the US Capitol is sin in action. Political sin. Personal sin. As many have already said, this is just the culmination of years of sin by Trump’s enablers and Trump himself. Eugene Cho said today: “This is the result of several years of enabling, spewing conspiracies, and lack of accountability.” Another post I saw said it really well: “The name of Christ has been dragged through the mud – not by His critics, but by those who claim to be his followers.” There were “Jesus Saves” signs commingled with Confederate flags in today’s craziness. There was white privilege on full display today. As Ibram X. Kendi said today: “If these people were Black… well, we all know what would be happening right now to them.”


King David’s sin was personal and political. He and his house were never the same afterward, nor was the nation of Israel. The Trump presidency is our country’s political and personal sin – enabled by religious conservatives and an immoral political right. But we, as Americans, all share the collective blame. We allowed the Trump presidency to get to this point. As a white male, I must confess my sin of not doing enough, of taking for granted my white privilege. We collectively must confess our country’s sin of allowing a monster like Trump – a racist, a misogynist, an egomaniac, an adulterer, a sexual predator – to become president, and we must do it now. Our country’s sin of white supremacy must be confessed collectively, and we must do it now. When a country is brought to its knees by the sins of its leaders, it is up to the whole nation to confess their sins and ask God to heal their land.


So it’s time to get on our knees and confess – a practice that the Christian tradition has practiced for thousands of years. Sin must be called out. Forgiveness must be asked for. Repentance must be the clothes we wear.


Lord, have mercy on our country. Lord, heal our land.


“Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.” (Isaiah 1:4 NIV)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s