I ran over my son last year. I still can’t believe it. Rhett, my baby boy, escaped massive injuries and only suffered a broken hand, a bruise or two and a few scratches.
I could have blamed my older kids for not shutting the three doors from the house to the outside. I could have blamed my wife for letting Rhett walk outside unsupervised. I could have blamed God for letting this horrific accident happen, but there was only one person behind the wheel. Only one person put the gearshift into drive. Only one person pressed the accelerator.
That person was I.
I learned that terrible morning what it meant to confess, truly confess. I had to acknowledge wounding my son when I called the hospital to tell them we were coming. The nurse had to ask me four times what was wrong. I didn’t want to admit it, but I finally relented. “I ran over my little boy,” I said.
Those words still choke me. I can’t speak those words without a stutter. Without tears and heartache. The pain of that admission is incredible. But it is important for me to say, “I ran over Rhett.” If I deny what happened, if I fail to grieve, I can’t move past my sin. The past will destroy my relationship with God and with my family.
Regret, guilt, bitterness, anger and resentment all stem from pride, from self-justification. I must confess my sin. I can’t truly blame anyone else, but my flesh wants to assign Rhett’s accident to someone else for my selfish benefit.
Confession frees the inner self and abolishes guilt.
David writes in Psalm 32:1-5:
“It is a great blessing
when people are forgiven for the wrongs they have done,
when their sins are erased.
2 It is a great blessing
when the Lord says you are not guilty,
when you don’t try to hide your sins.
3 Lord, I prayed to you again and again,
but I did not talk about my sins.
So I only became weaker and more miserable.
4 Every day you made life harder for me.
I became like a dry land in the hot summertime. Selah
5 But then I decided to confess my sins to the Lord.
I stopped hiding my guilt and told you about my sins.
And you forgave them all!” ERV
Pride and shifting blame ends marriages, causes suicides, addictions, job loss and self-loathing. Our family barely escaped tragedy. The best of all scenarios played out. Even the nurses told me the outcome was miraculous. My son left the hospital with a splint, virtually unscathed.
That day changed my life forever. The visions don’t go away. The knowledge of what I did is ever-present. Rhett will never even recall that morning. He was just 22 months old. I still remember the gravel in his cheeks when I picked him up. I sometimes awaken with a jolt. I get anxious backing up in parking lots. I park so I can just pull forward. School zones make me nervous. Self-doubt frequently creeps into my thoughts.
I’m blessed to have a wife who comforts my fears and anxieties. I wonder how our marriage would have survived if I blamed her for that morning. I truly believe confessing and owning my part has been the difference in the emotional recovery for both Mary Beth and for me.
It’s only been a year. My eyes still well up with tears.
Confession has become a huge part of my faith. That tragic moment taught me how to truly face my failures, my careless choices and my broken promises. I can’t hold onto my sins no matter how horrible they seem. I must not become angry, bitter or resentful.
I must open my heart to God, admit my iniquities and let Christ take the burden of my sin. I know Christ is real because He has taken my guilt away. I know Jesus forgives me. But I must receive that forgiveness and forgive myself too.
I’m still working on deep-rooted secret sins. I really don’t want to acknowledge my wicked heart to God. I have skeletons hiding in my closet of memories. Confession is the only way to overcome my guilt and shame.
Confession to God is the key to my healing. I can be vulnerable before Him and He meets me with welcoming arms. It’s humbling to confess. More importantly, it’s freeing.
“If we say that we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done.” ERV