Years ago, that verse from Psalm 32 was sung as part of the Brief Order of Confession in most Lutheran churches. It still echoes in many of our ears, reminding us of God’s call to be honest with him and with ourselves, to lay open our hearts.
This openness, this unflinching acknowledgment of our own failures, is an important part of Lent, the season of penitence and self-denial.
But the verse that follows is just as important: “And you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Our confession does not go unanswered! God responds to our honesty with his own limitless grace and mercy.
As bishop and scholar N.T. Wright says, “Lent is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault-finding or finger-pointing but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things he now has in store.”