Aug 28, 2007
Most of the time, the word translated "confession" in the Bible
appears in the context of owning up to sin. That's a good word for
translating the concept. The Latin word from which we get the
English "confess" means "to stand with" -- in this case, it means
standing with God, as a public endorsement of His declaration we
Such has a very long and distinguished history in the Bible. Who
can forget Daniel's prayer of confession as he realized the time of
the Exile was drawing to a close?
And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made my
confession, and said, "O Lord, the great and awesome God, keeping
the covenant and mercy to those who love Him, and to those who keep
His commandments, we have sinned and have committed iniquity, and
have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Your
commandments and from Your judgments." (Daniel 9:4-5)
He goes on at length in confessing how surely Israel deserved the
Exile, and all that went with it, and far more besides. That there
were still Hebrew people alive was a tribute to God's vast mercy.
Or how about Nehemiah's prayer over the same thing?
And I said, "I pray You, O LORD God of Heaven, the
great and awesome God who keeps covenant and mercy for those who
love Him and keep His commandments; let Your ear now be open, and
Your eyes open, so that You may hear the prayer of Your servant,
which I pray before You now, day and night, for the sons of Israel
Your servants, and confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which
we have sinned against You. Both I and my father's house have
sinned. We have acted very wickedly against You, and have not kept
the commandments nor the statutes nor the judgments which You
commanded Your servant Moses." (Nehemiah 1:5-7)
Isaiah, too (6:5), as well as others. Notice how they accept the
burden of responsibility for things they personally did not do, but
which was done in their name as a member of their nation. This is
drawn from the fundamental nature of sin's propagation, and how it
brought about the Fall in the first place. Sin spreads farther than
the virulent infection, and passes more surely than DNA. It is more
fundamental to our nature than any other thing you can name. It's
hardly an insult for me to look any living, breathing human and
say, "That one has sinned." It's only because I've already looked
in the mirror and said the same thing.
Has our nation, the United States, not sinned as well? Worse,
we have striven mightily to cover this sin, to prevent anyone
thinking about it. Those who dared raise it in the past have almost
uniformly been called "leftist kooks," and we still hear scolding
about "blame America." Why must we engage in the most obvious,
slimy justifying to insure we need not acknowledge this was a
hideous act? While some use visceral guilt to push their political
agenda, that does not excuse closing our eyes to the simple fact we
did evil. Let me assure you a very integral part of the sacrificial
system of Moses was to insure we look fully upon the gory mess as a
reminder of the costs of sin.
So here, without any political agenda, let me call on my fellow
believers to mourn the unspeakable suffering and death of those on
whom we dropped nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Let us be
hesitant to do so again, keeping a steady eye on the sure results,
regardless what justification men may offer. We have sinned. Let us
pray our nation be reluctant to sin more.
Ed Hurst is Associate Editor of
Open for Business.