Why does God want our confession when He already knows our sin?

By Kersley Fitzgerald

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" Genesis 3:8-9

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" Genesis 4:8-9
Have you ever wondered about these passages? God is omniscient. He knows our hearts and thoughts before we do. So why did He have to ask Adam and Eve where they were? And why did He ask Cain where Abel was?

So, my kid took his tablet to school after we'd told him repeatedly not to. I led him to the backyard where I took pictures for his birthday while his dad went through his school backpack and removed the Kindle. I even took him out for ice cream where we talked about what it means to confess a wrong-doing. Then we casually asked him a couple of times where his Kindle was. Nada.

He didn't know it, but his Kindle was on a shelf in our closet. Instead, he scoured his backpack and bedroom trying to find it. We asked him a few more times and got a series of "I don't know." We dropped it.

For four months.

For four months he chose to feel the horror of losing his precious Kindle that he had saved money and bought himself. He chose to cut off a part of his relationship with us by lying and hiding. He went through the anxiety of not know if someone at school had stolen it or if he'd lost it or what had happened. He hardened his heart against us and learned what it was like to be alone in his sin.

I think we caved first. We explained — again! — about honesty and obedience and all that. He felt the relief of a renewed relationship and learned that it was his own actions that had caused him so much anxiety. If we had come down on him like a tribe of giants, pointing our fingers and crying, "We know what you did, you foolish boy! You're grounded for four months!" he might have gotten the "disobeying is bad" part (although, probably not), but he wouldn't have gotten the lesson that his 12-year-old self had so much power when it came to his relationship with his 40-something parents.

God wasn't asking because He didn't know. He was asking to give Adam, Eve, and Cain a choice — You've already disobeyed Me; will you reject Me as well? You've chosen your wants over My rule; will you choose your pride over My love?

That little incident with the tablet was two years ago. He still hides stuff from us, but he's also better at 'fessing up when asked directly. If Adam and Eve or Cain had fallen on their knees and repented of their sin when first asked, it wouldn't have changed what they'd done; we'd still have a sin nature, and Abel would still be dead. But their relationship with their Father would have been much stronger. The same is true for us. We can pretend we didn't sin and drive a wedge in our relationship with God, or we can confess and take our licks. Either way, God will be waiting to forgive us.

Image Credit: David Goehring; "Guilty as Charged"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | God-Father  | Sin-Evil

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Published 8-18-15