The Comfort of Confession
“If you have to tell the truth eventually, you have to tell it immediately.”
That’s what my friend, wealth and life coach, Chinkee Tan shared in one of his trademark Chink Positive quotes.
|William Happ. Image credit.|
For almost 30 years, death row convict William Happ vehemently denied that he had anything to do with the rape and murder of Angela Crowley, “who was strangled and raped, and her body found in a canal” way back in 1986. (Inquirer) Despite his claim to be innocent, the investigators matched a footprint found in the crime scene to that of Happ’s.
However, “as he lay on the table where he was ultimately executed” via lethal injection, Happ finally confessed to the crime.
For 27 years, the horrible murder of Angela Crowley has been clouded by circumstantial evidence and uncertainty. For the sake of her family, loved ones and all concerned, it is to my agonizing shame that I must confess to this terrible crime… I wish to offer my most sincere and heartfelt apologies not only to those concerned for Angela Crowley but also to those I deceived and allowed to believe in my innocence. (Ibid)
|Angela Crowley. Image credit.|
Happ wasted three decades of the rest his life. He could have “redeemed” himself during that time. He could have made peace with himself, with others and with God a long time ago.
|Lethal Injection Chamber. Image credit.|
Happ’s death itself was so horrible. “The state corrections system used a new lethal chemical for the first time, and the execution reportedly did not go smoothly. … Happ took more than 15 minutes to die, as his body repeatedly made convulsive movements.” (Ibid) But, I think it’s more horrible living with a nagging conscience. So nagging that he decided not to bring the secret with him to the grave. He had to confess it albeit late.
Erwin Lutzer, the senior pastor of Moody Church, in Chicago, Illinois, wrote
Forgiveness is always free. But that doesn’t mean that confession is always easy. Sometimes it is hard. Incredibly hard. It is painful (sometimes literally) to admit our sins and entrust ourselves to God’s care.Nonetheless, the freedom that comes after the confession is worth the pain. It’s much more painful not to confess.
King David had the same experience. He committed adultery with Bathsheba. He tried to cover it up. He ended up having her husband killed. Yet, he had to confess when God through the prophet Nathan confronted him. (Read 2 Samuel 11-12.) David described the painful agony of unconfessed sins:
When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up. Then I let it all out; I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God. Suddenly the pressure was gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. (Psalm 32:3-5, The Message)That’s why he declared the blessedness of confession.
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (vv. 1-2, ESV)
Personally, I experienced the freedom of confession, too. There was a time I tried to hide the truth regarding an issue against me. I thought more of my reputation than my character. But doing so harmed me and did me no good. I just compounded my problem. To admit my fault was so embarrassing. Yet, it was right to face up to my responsibility. Always right to do so. It’s comforting to confess. What God thinks of me is more important than what people think of me.
My take? Though it’s better late than never, confess now than later.