Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity – Thursday
I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. – Psalm 32:5.
What sins should we confess?
Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even of those which we do not at the time realize and know, as we do in the Fifth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer and in the General Confession. For there is not a single commandment of God which we do not transgress daily. And David prays: “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse Thou me from secret faults” (Psalm 19:12). And when we have offended and grieved our neighbor, we should confess our sins to him and ask his pardon before we go to Confession. He who is not willing to do this, thereby clearly shows that before God also he does not truly repent of his sin.
What does the Savior say? “Go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother!” (Matthew 5:24). But perchance we know and feel in our heart some particular sin which above others weighs upon our heart and burdens our conscience. Then it is very good, wholesome, and beneficial to go to Private Confession, that is, to go to our confessor, and privately tell him our sins, get spiritual advice and consolation from him, and receive absolution for those particular sins. This greatly strengthens our faith and comforts our hearts.
It is to be regretted that Private Confession, where absolution is spoken to each person individually, has fallen into such disuse. For the sake of our infirmity it is important for every one of us to hear and truly to take to heart these words: “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2).
PRAYER – My God, help me by Thy Holy Spirit that I may never defend or deny my transgressions of Thy holy Law, nor cover up or misrepresent any sin out of carnal pride and obstinacy, but that I may freely, frankly, and penitently confess my sins. And then let me obtain mercy according to Thy Word, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
I, a sinner, come to Thee,
With a penitent confession;
Savior, mercy show to me
Grant for all my sins remission;
Let these words my soul relieve:
“Jesus sinners doth receive!”
Hymn 324, 5. (TLH)