I went to Cambodia a couple weeks ago with Tim and Stephanie Broersma. I love this couple. One of the reasons I love them is their authenticity and their willingness to share how God has rescued and restored them from their marriage struggles.
Tim struggled with sexual sin for many years. When God led him to confess his sin to Stephanie, he didn’t do it perfect, but he did do a lot right.
Now, seven years later, their marriage is stronger than ever, and they are helping other marriages who have been through the same thing experience similar restoration. One of the biggest reasons they have recovered so well is because Tim confessed right.
So many married men AND women are struggling with sexual sin (pornography, emotional affairs, physical affairs, etc.), which is destroying their relationship from the inside out. If there is any hope for restoring these marriages, confession needs to happen now, and it needs to happen right.
I want to help those who are struggling with sexual sin confess in a way that will give their marriage the best possible chances of restoration.
Unfortunately, in most cases, confession doesn’t happen. More often, people get caught. What typically follows is a war. After the dust settles, more damage is done than what is necessary. That’s when a couple typically reaches out for help. Then, I get to clean up the mess.
Confessing a sexual sin in the right way won’t guarantee restoration, but it will set you up for the best chance for restoration to happen.
In this first post I want to explain why you need to confess your sexual sin now. In my next post, I share what it looks like to confess to your spouse.
So, why confess at all?
- Whatever You Keep A Secret Will Control You – I’ve seen this play out in my own life and others. Sin NEVER satisfies. It always leaves you wanting more. The longer you wait to confess, the more entrenched in sin you will become. As you continue on your path of sin, it will become harder and harder to escape its grip. You may have heard it said that sin will take you further than you want to go and cost you more than you want to pay. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen casual dabbles in pornography turn into full-blown addictions, leading to multiple affairs, prostitution, homosexuality, and even pedophilia. Don’t underestimate the power of sin in your life. If this isn’t enough, scripture commands us to confess in James 5:16, “Confess your sins to each other…“
- Your Sin Will Destroy You And Everyone In Your Path – Satan wants you to believe your sin won’t affect the people around you. He will lead you to believe that your “secret sin” can remain a secret while you function normally in your everyday relationships. This is a lie from the pit of Hell. The truth is that your sin is progressively turning your focus inward. Every day you continue in your sin, you will be tempted to seek more and more selfish ways to pursue it. The more selfish you become, the more the relationships around you will suffer. First, your attention will be drawn away from those you love. Then, as those same relationships start to stand in the way of you going after your sin, you will purposefully distance yourself from them. Finally, as your sin takes over, you will become willing to sacrifice anything that is standing in the way of you having your sin (money, time, job, kids, your spouse, etc…). The longer you wait to confess, the more opportunity there is for sin to do its job…destroy you and everyone in your path.
- Confess Before You Get Caught – Confessing is always better than getting caught. Confession hurts, but it also opens up the door to healing. Unfortunately, the odds are against restoration if you get caught. You will end up being found out one way or another. Even if your spouse doesn’t catch you, you will give an account to your Heavenly Father one day. You might not realize it now, but he sees your every move, knows your every thought, and is desperately calling you to confess so you can start going down the path of restoration with Him and your spouse.
- Confession Is The Path To Healing – Confession is not only the path to your healing, it is also the path to the healing of your relationship. Picture your secret sin as a wall between you and your spouse. The longer you stay and the more entrenched you become in your sin, the wall becomes thicker and wider. That wall will eventually create so much distance between you and your spouse it will destroy your relationship. Nothing tears down that wall like confession. Frequently, I’ve heard stories from couples experiencing seemingly unexplainable intimacy (spiritual, emotional, and physical) only days after a confession. The anger and hurt are still present to a certain degree, but the level of intimacy is deeper than it ever has been before. Why? The wall is gone. Your confession will bring hurt and distance to your relationship…for a time. But your confession will also open the door to more intimacy than you ever imagined possible. Pay attention to the 2nd half of James 5:16, “Confess your sins to each other…so that you may be healed.”
- Don’t Confess To Be Forgiven, Confess Because You Are Forgiven – Finally, don’t let the guilt of your sin prevent you from experiencing freedom from your sin. One of the most devastating lies of the enemy is that you have to stop sinning in order to be in right standing with God. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a believer and follower of Christ, you are no longer enslaved by your sin. You are now a slave to Christ’s righteousness and His grace. Let the truth of Romans 6:14 wash over you and give you the confidence to approach the Throne of Grace with your confession, “Sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
Please start by confessing this sin to God. Right now, cry out to him like Isaiah did as you realize, “Woe to me, I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips.”
But don’t stop there! Also, like Isaiah, realize that the Lord is saying to you right now, “Your guilt is taken away, and your sin is atoned for.”
With that realization as a foundation, you are ready to explore what it looks like to confess to your spouse.
Hans co-founded Marriage Revolution with his wife, Star, in 2010. He counsels couples in The Woodlands, TX, speaks at marriage conferences around the country, and provides leadership and direction to Marriage Revolution.