Breaking Your Silence

Bible Book: 1 John  1 : 9
Subject: Sin; Confession; Repentance; Honesty; Forgiveness

Since his rise to fame in 1986, actor Charlie Sheen has reportedly slept with more than 700 women; his promiscuity is now coming back to haunt him. In a recent interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show, the 50-year-old actor confessed that he is HIV positive. During the interview, Sheen framed the situation by saying he was forced to reveal his secret because he was being extorted for ten million dollars. He said, “I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks.”

Sheen is perhaps best known for his role on Two and a Half Men, but he gained further notoriety because of a series of increasingly erratic public statements he made in 2011. He oddly stated that he was a “warlock” with “tiger blood” and “Adonis DNA” and that he was “winning.” Since he claims he has known about the HIV for about four years, it appears the diagnosis was made during that time.

Sheen said breaking his silence on national television was a “turning point in [his] life.” He went on to say, “I release myself from this prison today.” While I respect Charlie Sheen for coming clean about his HIV diagnosis, the truth is, he will never be truly set free from the prison of sin until he deals with it at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.

The Word of God makes it plain that “confession is good for the soul.” We all face a time sooner or later when we have to break our silence and confess our sins. We can do it now before it’s too late, or later when it is. But either way, sins have a way of coming out.

Well, the word of God makes it plain that confession is good for the soul. We will all find out that sooner or later, we will have to break our silence and confess our sins. We can do it now before it’s too late . . . or later when it is too late. Either way, sins have a way of coming out.

I once heard about four pastors who met for a friendly gathering. During the conversation, one pastor said, “Our people come to us and pour out their hearts, confessing certain sins and needs. Let’s do the same. Confession is a good spiritual practice.” After some discussion, they all agreed.

One confessed he liked to go to movies and would sneak off when away from his church. The second confessed to frequently smoking cigars, and the third confessed he enjoyed playing cards. When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn’t confess. The other pastors pressed him saying, “Come now, we confessed ours. What is your secret or vice?” Finally he said, “Gossiping—and I can hardly wait to get out of here.”1

The fact is, we all fail and we all sin. John said in 1 John 1:10 (KJV), “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Some of the greatest people in the Bible sinned—Moses, Abraham, David, Peter; they all sinned. But they all overcame their sin and by following the principle given in this verse. They confessed. They turned from the sin. They received God’s forgiveness. And they moved on.

I want to share with you today how to break your silence and deal with your sin, so you won’t be haunted by the ghost of guilt or suffer the consequences of sin. So you can live in victory every day.


John begins by saying, “If we confess our sin . . .” (1 John 1:9a, KJV). Now the word confess is in the present tense, which means this is something we must continually do. We should do this daily. We should do this decisively. We should do this deliberately.

Some people teach that we don’t need to ask for forgiveness because we are already forgiven. But that is not what God’s Word says.

People who teach this deception misunderstand the difference between judicial pardon from a judge and parental forgiveness from a father. You see, in one sense, we have been forgiven of our sin—singular. But this verse says if we confess our “sins”—plural. When a person becomes a Christian, he doesn’t become perfect—he just becomes forgiven. Because of his old nature, he still sins. When he sins, he must confess that sin so God can forgive it.

I am convinced that many Christians are living in defeat because they do not know how to deal with sin in their life. There is only one way to deal with sin, and that is to confess it and confess it appropriately. Only one type of sin can defeat you if you are a Christian, and that is unconfessed sin.

To understand confession, you must understand what the word means. It means more than just saying, “I am sorry.” The Greek word is homologeo, which literally means “to say the same thing.” When you confess sin, it means you are saying the same thing about sin that God says about it. In other words, you are looking at sin the way God looks at it.

Confession is more than admitting sin. You can admit sin without confessing sin, without looking at it from God’s vantage point. When you genuinely confess sin, you’ve been convicted of that sin and you hate it, you’re broken over it, and you want to turn from it. You see, real confession does not just try to escape the consequences of sin; it tries to erase the guilt of sin.

If you want to deal with sin properly, you must do two things: first, you must call it what it is. Doublespeak has become major problem in the English language. A national council of teachers’ state-of-the-language report cited the following of people or companies not being willing to call something what it is. This can get to the point of being humorous.

A stockbroker called a recent stock market crash a “fourth quarter equity retreat.” The Pacific Gas and Electric Company referred to its bills as “energy documents.” The shutdown at a General Motors plant in Massachusetts was labeled by the company as a “volume-related production schedule adjustment.” A recent publication claimed that jumping off a tall building could lead to “sudden deceleration trauma.”2

If you’re going to deal with sin, you must call it what it is. If it’s pride, call it pride; if it’s lust, call it lust; if it’s greed, call it greed. But call it what it is. Then second, confess it when it occurs. We often sin retail and confess wholesale. Many of us wait until we go to bed at night and then say something like this, “Lord, forgive me if I’ve sinned.”

Come on now! What do you mean, “If I’ve sinned?” Why pray if you are not sure about it? Why pray until you know you have sinned? Friend, hardly a day goes by that we don’t sin. We need to confess sins specifically and confess sin immediately so that we can always know we are right with God.

Also, don’t make excuses. Make a confession. Corrie Ten Boom once wrote, “The blood of Jesus never cleansed an excuse.”3 I want you to remember something. Here is the best way to keep guilt out of your life: When you sin, get to God with that sin before the devil does. Revelation 12:10 refers to the devil as “the accuser of the brethren.” You see, if you don’t confess your sin immediately, the devil will bring that sin before God. The devil wants you to live with guilt. But if you go to God with it, your Heavenly Father will cleanse you of that sin and take away that guilt.


John goes on to say that if we do confess our sins, “God is faithful and just.” Now why did he remind us of those two particular character qualities of God? Well you see, first of all, God is faithful to his word. The Bible says in Isaiah 55:7 (NIV), “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

God has a covenant relationship with his children, and he cannot break that covenant. As a part of that covenant, we find the assurance of God’s faithfulness: “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9, ESV).

Not only is God faithful to his Word. He is also just in his ways. You see, the moment he sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins, he could forgive us our sins and yet still be a holy and a righteous God. On the one hand, God cannot just let sin go by. If he did, he wouldn’t be just. But on the other hand, God wants to be merciful and justify the unjust.

Perhaps you are wondering—how does he do this? How can God be faithful and forgive us of sin, yet be just and not simply let us get away with it? By sending Jesus to die for our sins. That’s why he says this about Jesus in Romans 3:25-26 (NASB): “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

You see, when you take your sins to Calvary’s cross, God must forgive you. If he doesn’t, he would dishonor his son and his sacrifice. That’s why I am appalled when I hear people say, “I did wrong and I begged God to forgive me.” You never have to beg God to forgive you. If you truly confess your sins, he will totally and willingly forgive you.

By the way, the word faithful means “every time.” If a man is faithful to his wife only 364 days a year, he’s not faithful; he’s only faithful if he’s faithful all the time. Perhaps you have heard the heart-wrenching story about Jake and Becky. Jake was dying. His wife, Becky, was maintaining a candlelight vigil by his side. She held his fragile hand, tears running down her face. Her praying roused him from his slumber.

Jake looked up, and his pale lips began to move slightly. He whispered, “My darling Becky.” She said, “Hush, my love. Rest, don’t talk.” Well, he was insistent. “Becky, I have something I must confess.” “There’s nothing to confess,” replied a weeping Becky. “Everything’s all right; go to sleep.” But Jake was determined. “No, no. I must die in peace, Becky. I fooled around with your sister, your best friend, and her best friend!” To which Becky softly responded, “I know. That’s why I poisoned you.”

Now let me ask you a question: How many of you have ever confessed a sin but still didn’t “feel” forgiven? Always remember this: your forgiveness depends on God’s faithfulness, not your feelings. If you admit your fault and turn from it, you can anticipate God’s faithfulness. Because he is faithful and just, he will deal rightly and righteously with your sin.


What is God faithful and just to do? He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we confess our sins, God pardons us and then God purifies us. That’s why we never ever have to bring up a confessed sin twice to God. R. A. Torrey, in his book How to Succeed in the Christian Life, wrote, “If you are at this moment troubled about any sin that you’ve ever committed, either in the past or in the present, just look at Jesus on the cross; believe what God tells you about him. . . . It is an act of base ingratitude to God to brood over sins that he in his infinite love has canceled.”4

You see, when you confess a sin to God and he forgives you, then you come back and confess that same sin later because you didn’t feel forgiven, you insult God.

Several years ago, a man was counseling with his pastor. The man was being haunted by the ghost of guilt. He had committed some sin many years before that was still tearing him to pieces. The pastor said, “Let me ask you something. Have you confessed this sin to God?” The man said, “Pastor, I’ve confessed it a thousand times.” That pastor said, “That is 999 times too many. You should have confessed it once and then thanked God 999 times for forgiving you.”

Now we understand why confession is so important. Confession puts us in a position to get our soul right with God. But it puts God in a position to remove sin from our soul.

Confession does for the soul what preparing land does for the field. Before the farmer sows the seed, he works the acreage, removing the rocks and pulling the stumps. That farmer knows that seed grows better if the land is prepared.

Confession is the act of inviting God to walk the acreage of our hearts. We say, “There’s a rock of greed here, Father; I can’t budge it. And that tree of guilt near that fence? Its roots are too long and deep. And may I show you some dry soil, too crusty for the seed?”5 Then God, through his Word and through his grace, pulls those rocks. He takes down those trees, and he fertilizes that soil.

Confession doesn’t seek amnesty from God—it seeks pardon. What is the difference? Pardon accepts guilt. Amnesty, which comes from the same Greek word as amnesia, “forgets” the sin and erases the guilt. Confession admits the wrong and seeks forgiveness. Amnesty denies the wrong and claims innocence.

That’s why the confession must be genuine. It must be true, it must be pure, and it must be sincere. There are some sins we confess and there are some sins we try to conceal.

I read a story about a priest who was hearing a confession from one of his parishioners. The man told him he had been stealing lumber from the building supply company where he worked. He said, “I’ve built a home for myself and two more for my family, including a lake house.”

The priest said, “Son, this is quite serious and you must spend a significant amount of time reflecting on what you’ve done.” He said, “Have you ever done a retreat?” The man said, “No, but if you can get the blueprints, I can get the lumber.”

Confession must be made, but it must be made properly. When it is, God not only forgives but also “cleanses from all unrighteousness.” You see, that’s the beautiful thing. God will not only forgive you for falling in the mud, but he will also clean you up and give you brand new clothes.


I want to give you one last thought about breaking your silence, about this matter of confession. Real confession, true confession, is willing to go any distance, pay any price, and count any costs to be right with God. 

We have all heard of deathbed confessions. I want to share with you what you might call a deathbed confession with a twist. In 1977, James Brewer was arrested in Tennessee on suspicion of killing his neighbor Jimmy Carroll in a fit of jealous rage. Brewer had shot and killed Carroll because he believed he had been trying to seduce his wife.

After his initial arrest, Brewer, considered a “respectable member of the community,” was granted bail and fled to Oklahoma where he and his wife began a new life together under the names Michael and Dorothy Anderson. They became active members of the local church, where Mrs. Brewer established a Bible study group. Their daughter married and they became grandparents.

In 2009, Brewer had a serious stroke. Thinking he was dying, he felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to confess to the crime that had weighed on his conscience for over three decades. His wife called the police to his hospital bed, saying her husband wanted to confess to a murder. With his wife’s help, Brewer told the police everything that had happened—she acted as “translator” because of the effects of her husband’s stroke.

The only problem with this deathbed confession was that Brewer didn’t die. When he was released from the hospital several weeks later, Brewer surrendered himself to Tennessee authorities and appeared in court with the same lawyer he had used almost 32 years earlier when he skipped bail.

Brewer’s pastor, Lawrence Guest, of the Good Shepherd Chapel where Mrs. Brewer set up the Bible study group, said, “I don’t know what their former life was, but I do know they were both dedicated to the Lord. They’ve been in their own prison for 30 years. I think they’ve done their time. They did what they needed to do in order to be right with God, and that’s all that matters.”6

That pastor was absolutely right—that is the only thing that matters. Whether you are saved or lost, whether you have ever trusted Christ as savior or not, if you will confess your sin and believe God’s Word, you can and will receive his forgiveness.