Just Admit It.
“For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me — the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!” – Jeremiah 2:13 NLT
Stubbornness is a terrible thing to behold. Whether it is in a child with a will that refuses to yield, a dog with a rag that it won’t let go of, or a believer who refuses to admit their own guilt. To sin is one thing. To sin and then refuse to acknowledge it, own up to it, and repent of it is another thing altogether. It compounds our sin and makes forgiveness impossible. When we read Jeremiah’s message to the people of Judah, it repeatedly addresses their incredible stubbornness. Their sins were obvious – they were all around them for everyone to see – including God. But instead of admit them, they denied them. And instead of acknowledge that their false gods had never done anything for them, they kept going back to them. God describes their gods as cracked cisterns. These were man-made receptacles designed to catch and contain rain water in a land that was prone to drought. Instead of turning to God, the fountain of living water, who could quench all their spiritual thirsts, they came up with their own way of meeting their needs. But it didn’t work. Their cisterns couldn’t hold water. Their gods couldn’t deliver or protect. Their alliances with other nations couldn’t prevent destruction. Yet they kept doing the same thing over and over again – stubbornly and persistently.
And they stubbornly denied their guilt. They tenaciously refused to admit that they had done anything wrong.”And yet you say, ‘I have done nothing wrong. Surely God isn’t angry with me!’ But now I will punish you severely because you claim you have not sinned” (Jeremiah 2:35 NLT). Instead, they blamed God for their predicament. In place of confession, they complained. They blamed. They passed the buck. Yet, when things went bad, God was the one they would turn to demanding that He do something. “They turn their backs on me, but in times of trouble they cry out to me, ‘Come and save us!’” (Jeremiah 2:27b NLT). But God kept pleading for them to return. He called for them come back to Him because He was merciful and forgiving. He only asked that they do one thing: Acknowledge their guilt. Admit that they had rebelled against Him. Confess that they had refused to listen to Him. RETURN to Him in humility, brokenness and genuine sorrow over their sin. God makes the same offer to you and me today. He reminds us in His Word, “…if we admit our sins – make a clean breast of them – he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing” (1 John 1:9 MSG). But how often do we stubbornly cling to our sins, refusing to admit them? Forgiveness is as close as the tip of our tongues, but we stubbornly refuse to speak the words that could bring release and restoration – “I have sinned.”
It reminds me of the story Jesus told of the prodigal or wayward son, who decided to return home, after having blown his inheritance pursuing a sinful lifestyle. He came to his father and said, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son” (Luke 15:21 NLT). But he didn’t get the reaction he was expecting. Instead of anger and rejection, he encountered something different altogether. “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began” (Luke 15:22-24 NLT). Let the party begin!
Father, Your patience with me is incredible. In spite of all my stubbornness and pride, You keep calling me to come back to You. You keep pleading with me to simply confess my sins, admit that I have built my own cracked cisterns – poor, faulty replacements for You. I have worshiped gods of my own making – from power and prestige to popularity and possessions. And all You ask is that I admit it. Come to You in repentance and humility and own up to my sin. And You will restore me. You will clothe me in righteousness once again. You will restore me to favor and throw a party on my behalf. What an amazing God You are! Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men