When sin invades our lives it robs us of joy in the Lord. David knew what it was to experience the darkness and depressiveness of unconfessed sin. On one occasion, David had noticed a beautiful woman named Bathsheba bathing. He lusted after her and like all acts of sin; a number of sinful thoughts went unchecked in his life. These thoughts and desires produced the physical actions of adultery (2 Samuel 11:2-5) and even murder (2 Samuel 11:14-21). For a time, he kept silent. Before David confessed his sin to Lord he described his unrepentant condition by saying, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:3-4). This describes the horrible experience of living with hidden and unconfessed sin. Unconfessed sin will bother all people, but this distress will become less and less as a person ignores their conscience. But for the believer, this distress will be even worse because the sin we have committed is against the will of God and our new nature. Because David attempted a cover up and concealed his sin he experienced two outcomes – silent speech and sapped strength. The silent speech was demonstrated by the fact that he was trying to conceal his sin, which clearly affected his prayer life. The sapped strength was a result of guilt eating away at him.
The only true way to be free from such guilt is to admit that we are guilty. So often we will try to explain away the guilt that results from our personal sin. We all can be really good at making excuses or playing the blame game. After this terrible experience of being robbed of his joy as a result of unconfessed sin, David steps onto the pathway that leads to freedom. This pathway is called forgiveness. He declared, “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah” (Psalm 32:5). David’s greatest need was not to find a great excuse, ignore the feelings of guilt, or blame them on something else. His greatest need was to find forgiveness.
In his prayer of confession David asked the Lord, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:12). David’s unconfessed sin robbed him of joy in the Lord. This is because sin is a wicked thing. Sin silences our speech and saps our strength. The Bible tells us plainly “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). This means that sin is anything that does not conform to God’s standard; it is simply breaking God’s law. Since the believer is placed into fellowship with God, anything in their life that goes against the will of God is an invasion that strips from the believer the beautiful garments of gladness.
Sin should be considered the believer’s worst enemy. It is for this reason that our attitude towards sin should be very serious. Many people trivialize sin and sadly are easily entertained by it. As the people of God, we ought to be disgusted by it and recognize that it is our enemy. It robs us of the enjoyment of being glad in Lord. It takes our eyes off Him and appeals to our selfish desires and cravings. Yes, it promises pleasure, but it robs us of true joy. Its goal is destruction. We need to understand that no matter what form it comes in; sin is a villain and it must be shunned. It is a thief of joy.
Confessing our sins to the Lord and repenting from them is the way we take hold of the joy that comes from His forgiveness.