Lies and Confession – Should I Confess My Sins To My Wife?

Question from a Site Viewer

Lies and Confession

At one point I had an affair. Eventually it all came out. So I owned up only to what I had to and lied about the rest.

Eventually I was convicted about the details I had lied about. I confessed them to her. She forgave me each time. Also, I confessed to God.

I now remember some nagging details I lied about and I want to confess them to her. She has told me that she forgives me for every lie and every detail, even the ones she doesn’t know. She has no desire to know them all. She wants to move on but I feel so held back by these lies I told. How can I be set free from this? Do I need to confess to her anyway?

Tim’s Answer

In your situation, you have confessed your sin to your wife, but not all the details, and you lied about some of them. She has forgiven you and expressed her forgiveness in terms of covering even what she does not know. She does not wish to know more. You, however, are bothered by your lies and want to confess them to her, hoping the confession will give you peace.

If I understand Scripture right, love seeks the best for another, not the relief of oneself. Your wife has stated that she does not want to know further details. I think you should honor that request and not put more grief on her. You have put her through enough already.

However, that then leaves you with these sins that you have confessed to God but that still bother you. What are you to do with them? First, you must count God to be true. Having confessed your sins to Him, He has forgiven you of your sins (Psalms 32). Whether you feel this to be true or not, you must live life believing that God is true to His Word.

There is one condition that Scripture places on God’s forgiveness. If we are holding a grudge against someone else and do not forgive them, then Jesus teaches us that God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). So it is important that you are forgiving to others.

But assuming that you are forgiving to others (Matthew 18:23-35), that you have asked for God’s forgiveness as you state, then you are forgiven by God. Yet, you feel guilty, trapped, and want peace.

I think I know the reason. There is a created being, Satan, who is the accuser of the brothers (Revelation 12:10). It has long been a device of Satan that when we sin, he will be happy to keep reminding us of our sin and to accuse us of our sins long after God has forgiven us our sins. Further, our own minds will condemn us because of our sins. We must stop listening to him or to our own minds in these matters. God has said that He has forgiven. Do we want to say that He is a liar and that His promise is not true? I do not think so. Having confessed, we must live by faith in trusting that God has forgiven us. Not only has He forgiven us, but it is His delight to forgive us. Read Luke 15 sometime to see what causes great rejoicing in heaven.

Accordingly, when the thoughts come into your mind condemning you because of the sin, you need to deal with those thoughts directly, and do not “buy the lie” that the sins are still being held against you by God. Here is my suggestion: When you feel condemned because of your sin, stop and tell yourself; “Yes, I sinned and did this thing. But Jesus has forgiven me my sin and cleansed me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). He has cleansed me and purified me and made me holy. I am His.” Then, turn towards God and thank Him for the forgiveness of sins and the chance to be clean before Him and to serve Him. If every time your mind condemns you for your sin, you turn it into praise and thankfulness towards our merciful God, you will be well on your way to the transformation of your life and overcoming these thoughts. The goal of life is to live for Jesus, to follow Him, and to transform our minds always to please Him.

And rather than confess the details of your sin to your wife, I suggest the far better approach is to live out the rest of your life in seeking to be a blessing to her, to please her, to pray for her, and to show her your gratitude and love in very practical ways. If you feel condemned or oppressed by these negative thoughts, don’t make her unhappy with your unhappy thoughts, but rather turn your mind away from the unhappy thoughts to think about Jesus. Learn to think about the things that are good and lovely (Philippians 4:8). Set your mind on things above (Colossians 3:1-3). Live in the love, joy, and peace that the Spirit of God brings to our lives. God has given us the Spirit of power to transform our thoughts into thoughts of the kingdom. But we need to engage our minds in winning the battle of our thought life.

As I have urged many others, I think one of the best ways to transform the mind is by memorizing Scripture. By doing so, we create new pathways of thinking for the mind, and provide the Spirit of God tools to use in us to change us into the image of the Lord. Draw near to God in reading and prayer and service to others in His Name, and He will draw near to you.

I think every believer, if we let it happen, could be rendered powerless by memories of sins we have committed. Sins are horrible, not only because they take us away from God, but they are an affront to our dear God and they stain our lives. Each believer, at some point, comes to understand our own unworthiness before God and God’s great grace to us. It is in His grace that we stand. And there, we take up the lives left to us on this earth and we live them no longer for our own desires, but we live them as ambassadors of the King of Kings. We put away the things that are behind us and we reach forward to the goal of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

I pray that you will understand these truths and begin to live life in the freedom that Christ has given to you, putting away the sins that have happened in the past and living life now to the praise and glory of God.

My prayers are with you,

knowing vs doing

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