The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
We might think we are in the clear if we didn’t get caught for that sin we just committed. Although no one may have heard the mean and nasty thoughts we were thinking about our coworker, it doesn’t mean God didn’t hear them. Even if we are able to hide our outbursts of anger behind the walls and curtains of our homes, or scroll through pornographic websites behind closed doors, God sees. And he considers all of these acts as a direct violation and betrayal against him as our God.
Thankfully, today’s proverb graciously gives us a solution. If we rephrase this proverb in the positive sense it can mean “The one who reveals his sins will prosper.” But how can someone who sinned a moment ago now prosper? This is because when we reveal our sins, we will find mercy (28:13). Mercy is the prosperity we need.
The proverb writer explains to us that we reveal our sins by confessing them. Jesus taught us to pray by asking God for our daily needs – like bread – and then asking for forgiveness (Luke 11:3-4). The Apostle John also taught us that “If we confess our sins, he [Jesus] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9). In other words, forgiveness and mercy are daily necessities. Our confessions don’t cleanse us before God; only Jesus is able to accomplish that. But confessing our sins cleanses us from the daily guilt and shame we might feel before God.
Lastly, this proverb teaches us to “renounce” or turn away from our sin. We don’t want to keep offending our God with spiteful thoughts, tantrums, or distorted desires. When we confess, God changes our hearts, which leads to lifestyle changes for Him. But we don’t have to confess on our own with God. James says to “confess your sins with one another” (Jas. 5:16). So consider meeting with another brother or sister in Christ for coffee and talk about the serious things happening in your life. We need to regularly confess our sins to God, and also with his people. When we stop concealing sin and bring it before Jesus to receive mercy, sin loses its power.