In order to move forward, you have to accept that you’ve failed.

On Thursday, Detroit filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Residents and other stakeholders vowed Thursday that despite filing for bankruptcy protection, Detroit will live by its creed of rising from the ashes. The bankruptcy filing was a hard pill to swallow, they said, but necessary if Detroit is to move forward.

From The Detroit News

There is little positive press regarding a bankruptcy announcement, but honesty is the first step towards real change. For Detroit, honesty could be the first step towards addressing the city’s debt problem.

For us, honesty could be the first step towards a different kind of fresh start.

Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

Psalm 32: 1-5

There is something powerful about putting everything on the table with nothing left to hide. The City of Detroit experienced a taste of that this week. Some of us may be in a similar spot, except that finances might not be our main problem.

Can you honestly say that you have a few friends who know everything about you? Take a moment, stop reading, and think… Is there any area in your life that you’ve avoided talking about? Or telling your spouse?

We all have certain sins that make us feel ashamed. If you don’t have friends who you talk to consistently and open up with about your sins specifically, then you aren’t being honest! If you aren’t being open about your sins so specifically that your friend will think, “Wow, that’s really messed up…” then you aren’t being honest!

Confessing sin isn’t supposed to be negative. It’s actually supposed to be freeing. When you are completely open and have nothing to hide, that’s the moment you experience the great relief that comes from being known. That’s the “complete honesty” that God was referring to in verse 2. That’s the moment you can smile, relax, and just remember how amazing it is to have friends and a God who take you for who you are and want to help you move forward. Until we experience that moment (and that moment should happen more than once every year by the way), we are going to be weighed down and guilty.

Free yourself. Like Detroit, carry your failures on your shoulders and face the facts. Honesty is the first step towards real change.

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