Vol.XVI No.VII Pg.4
September 1979

I Have Sinned

Robert F. Turner

"And Nathan said unto David, Thou art the man ...And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against Jehovah (II Sam. 12:7,13). When Nathan went to David to reprove him for his sin with Bathsheba, David was honest enough with himself to admit his sin. He did not try to rationalize or conceal or place the blame elsewhere — he simply accepted the fact that he had sinned, took responsibility for his actions, and confessed to Nathan and God, "I have sinned."

Many Christians today find it hard, if not impossible, to face the fact that they have sinned. This usually results in unnecessary anxiety and guilt that often hinders their full potential as Christians. David was not able to deal with his sin until he had faced it. We must also have this ability to be honest with ourselves if we are to deal with our sin. We must accept the fact that we sin, take responsibility for our actions, and confess our sins to God and our brethren.

The publican, in Luke 18:13, exclaimed, "God, be thou merciful to me a sinner." Paul wrote that "There is none righteous, no, not one" and "for all have sinned" (Rom. 3:10,23). If we accept the fact that we are human, then we must also accept the fact that we are not perfect. "In admitting to yourself that you are or have been guilty of lust, or greed, of pride and of judging, of an unforgiving nature, you are not saying that you are worse than others... You are simply joining the human race and confessing that you are in need of God's help and forgiveness." (Cecil Osborne)

After we can face the fact that we sin, we must then take the responsibility for our sin. We often try to blame others for our actions. We tend to say that "we are mad because he did this!" rather than admitting that we are mad because we let ourselves get mad. Someone reminded me that I was not responsible for what people did to me — I was responsible only for the way I reacted to them. John tells us that we will be judged according to our works (Rev. 20:12) — not according to what others did to us. Its a waste of time to recount the mistakes of others that "made" us react in one way or another. David did not try to make any excuses for his sin; he simply admitted, "I have sinned."

When we're finally able to make this admission without making any excuses, then we can begin to deal with our sin by relying on our brethren and God. Paul tells us that we are to "bear one anothers burdens" (Gal.6:2). James says that we are to "confess our faults one to another" (Jms. 5:16). I'm not advocating that we confess our sins to every brother. It would be foolish to think that every brother will understand your weaknesses and can help you with them. Yet to refuse to confess our sins to those who can give us mature and sound advice and solutions is to neglect a very effective way to deal with our sins. We must, however, also rely on God and His word. David, who admitted that he had sinned, who accepted the responsibility for his sin, and who confessed this to God before Nathan, also wrote, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee."

(Psalm 119:11) Kevan O'Banion