“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart,
these O Lord, Thou wilt not forsake.”
– Psalm 51:17 (King James Version)
John says, “If we walk in the light we have fellowship one with another.” Now we have seen that this walk demands quick recognition of sin, followed by confession and cleansing. But this also means that when the sin has affected a brother, the confession must include him. That is really obvious, and we but mention it in passing. A repentance before God which said, “To You I confess, but not to my brother” needs no comment on its unreality.
David called repentance “brokenness.” That leaves no place for establishing my own righteousness. Down I go before God, and before man where necessary. A bent tree can spring into place again, a broken one cannot. That is repentance. This is no light challenge to face, for so many sins I commit affect my neighbour: an untruth, irritability, harsh criticism, stress and strain, an unquiet spirit, even the heaviness of unbelief, affect home, church or business. I must be ready to confess, and under God’s guidance will often do so. Yet confession to man should be under His guidance. Satan can whip God’s saints and drive them from behind to unwise action, whereas the Spirit gently leads and goes before. There are times when confession can do more harm than good. There are earnest folks who embarrass by their constant references to their failures. I must be truly willing. That is the point. The rest we can leave to God.