I recall a story about two brothers and a duck.
The two brothers traveled to their province to see their grandfather. The eldest brother was walking around the field when he noticed this duck walking with its heads up. He wanted to try out his new slingshot. He took it out, got a smooth pebble to put in his sling, and imagined himself as David attempting to slay Goliath. He yanked on the rubber before releasing the stone for the kill. He smacked the duck’s head. He went to see if the duck was still moving. He looked to the left and right, sensing that he had just “murdered” a poor innocent duck, to see whether the coast was clear for him to bury his victim.
It’s as though an “extrajudicial killing” occurred in the middle of the farm.
He returned to his grandfather’s place for lunch. When the three of them had had their fill, the grandfather asked the youngest brother to help out around the house by cleaning the dishes, saying, “Can you clean up the dishes?” The youngest spoke up quickly, adding, “I’m sure Kuya will gladly do the dishes. Is that correct, Kuya?” “Why me?” grumbled the elder brother.
The youngest then came in close to his older brother and uttered the three words that would change his vacation forever, “Remember the duck?”
The eldest brother pretends that he was eager to help without the grandfather knowing that it was more of a threat that prompted him to do so. So the next day, the grandfather gently asked the youngest to fetch a bucket of water and bring it to the kitchen. “Kuya will do it for me grandfather,” the sly one murmured again. Before the eldest could object, the youngest turned to face his brother and said, inaudibly, “Remember the duck?”
So this “blackmailing” occurred during their lengthy stay at their grandfather’s residence, to the chagrin of the eldest. He came to his wits and realized what he had done saying, “I must confess my sins and seek forgiveness from Grandpa so that he understands what I have done. I’m hoping he’ll forgive me.”
He gathered his courage and boldly went to his grandfather, who was busy feeding the ducks right outside his house. “Grandfather, I have something to say to you,” he said.
“What is it, my grandson?” his grandfather replied.
“I made a mistake,” he admitted, “by killing one of your ducks.”
“Will you forgive me?” he humbly admitted.
“I know what you did when you killed the duck,” his grandfather said with grief.
When the elder brother learned about it, he was truly taken aback. “But how did you know?” he inquired. “I was walking around when I noticed you aiming your slingshot at that poor duck and then burying its lifeless carcass under the ground,” his grandfather recounted. “I didn’t confront you straight away because I wanted you to come to me and admit what you did.” In fact, as his grandfather lovingly stated, “I have already forgiven you” the moment you did it. “However, I observe that your youngest brother has continued to condemn you and hold you accountable for what you did without your knowledge that if you will only admit your sin, you would undoubtedly feel my forgiveness and be free of your brother’s judgment,” he added.
The elder brother was taught a lesson. So, after his confession, he was free of guilt, and he could now look his younger brother in the eyes and say, “You wash the dishes.”
Similarly, we know that God has already forgiven us, because we have been justified and made holy. However, we still sin in our daily walk that we must acknowledge our sins before God in order to receive and appropriate His forgiveness in our life. If we will not do it, Satan will undoubtedly accuse us on a daily basis of our wrongdoings (cf. Rev. 12:10). And this is where the following biblical truths come into play in our life.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1
A righteous person may fall seven times, but he gets up again. – Proverbs 24:16
If we refuse to confess our sins to God, our hearts will inevitably become callous. We will lose our sensitivity to the sins we commit, to the point where divine and loving correction is required to awaken us.
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” – Hebrews 12:6
After confessing our sins to God, we can now figuratively say to Satan, “You wash the dishes!” And we must keep moving forward by running the race and letting go of everything that hinders us from looking to Jesus, the perfecter of our faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2