Confession as a Belief in Something Better?
Isaiah 61:3 — …and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Ashes on the head, in the Old Testament, are the eternal sign of repentance and sorrow, a sign of the need for something good to happen. The Israelites held out hope when they would fast and mourn and reveal their sorrow over sin and catastrophe for all to see, even God, that better times would come because of their laments.
That is the message that God conveys to us as Christians during our times of confession: there is a better time to come. Confession for a Christian is the intentional acknowledgement of wrongdoing, lifted up to God so that He might be merciful and grant us pardon. We believe that this action of crying out to God for relief brings the message that there will be an ending worth looking forward to. We understand that it may not necessarily happen in this life, but the promise of God tells us that it will happen, most certainly, when we are given our eternal rest.
So, the next time that you confess yourself to our Heavenly Father, remember that this prayer you lift up is the sign that you believe that something better is to come. Amen.