Some years back, Frank Warren handed out 400 blank postcards bearing his address to strangers and asked them to send their untold secrets to him. Warren began receiving confessions like: "I haven't spoken to my dad in 10 years, and it kills me every day" and "Everyone who knew me before 9/11 now believes I'm dead." Today, Warren's Post-Secret project receives over 1,000 postcard secrets every week.
Since then a plethora of online confessionals have followed. Many of the confessions posted are fabricated. But many are heartfelt, like the woman who confessed to cheating on her boyfriend and then wrote: "I'm sorry. I don't believe in a god, but I feel I need to finally tell someone the truth, even if it is just the Internet."
The human soul longs to confess its guilt. Three thousand years ago, King David wrote in a song: "When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long" (Psalm 32:3). We don't know what sin was on his mind, but we know how he felt before he came clean: "Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat" (v.4).
David finally confessed his sin to God and discovered the power of divine pardon. "And You forgave me!" he sings heavenward in relief. "All my guilt is gone" (v.5).
Confessing our wrongs on a postcard or Web site may be partially therapeutic, but it doesn't go far enough. It's not just confession we need, but cleansing. The Internet doesn't "hear" our confession. A postcard can't "pardon" our sin. But the personal God of the universe can do both.
"Therefore," David sings on, "let all the godly pray to You while there is still time" (v.6). Confess and be clean, for the God of forgiveness is listening.
, Sheridan Voysey
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