Freedom has been a big topic over the last few days. It is something that we celebrate every year as a country. I have always held July 4 in high esteem, always remembering, reading stories, and trying to learn about the freedom I am so easily afforded just by being born in the United States of America. That freedom comes so easy to me, but I never want to forget how that freedom came to be and the hard work it took to get there. I never want to forget those who died for me to enjoy that freedom.

But we often forget that there is a much greater freedom afforded to us, so much greater than the freedom we experience here in the USA. The one who died for us gave us the ultimate freedom to lay down our heavy chains and walk in forgiveness. It doesn’t matter where we were born or who we were born to. This freedom is for every one of us. The moment we acknowledge and accept the gift of salvation, we are transformed into a new life — a life of freedom. So why do we choose to continue dragging along our chains of guilt and shame? The Spirit of the Lord is now in us, and there is freedom in that. So why don’t we lay those chains down?

The answer is in confession. The part that none of us really want to talk about. The part where we have to get real with ourselves and real with God. The messy part. The part where we have to work hard. The part where we have to be vulnerable and trust. The part where the rubber meets the road.

In preparing for this devotional, I read an excellent quote by Max Lucado that said, “Confession is a radical reliance on grace–trusting in God’s goodness.” That sounds so easy when I am typing it. It is a bit harder to grasp when we are standing in our own messes. The thing we forget is that God already knows our messes. He doesn’t need our confession. He wants our confession. By confessing before him, we no longer deny our sin. We own it by acknowledging it as a sin and then lay it down forever. God’s grace covers that shame and guilt, and when we kneel and lay those chains at his feet, we can rise and walk in true freedom.

There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
— Romans 8:1

God created us beautifully in his image, and part of his plan for us was to live in community with one another. When we live in shame and guilt, we isolate ourselves from the community we were created to live in. Confession gives us freedom to live with no shame and no guilt, for our confession is confession of sin that is already forgiven. Our community provides for us a place of accountability and security, a safety net of believers who will always want us to live in the freedom that was given to us at the cross. We are to be a community that doesn’t condemn but instead encourages confession and freedom in that confession.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9

The message from God to David in the Psalms is the very same message God has for us. No one was ever perfect except Jesus. We, just like David, will always fall short. But we no longer have to walk in that shame. We all need God’s grace, just like David needed it. No one is excluded, except the one sinless one: Jesus. Every single sin is covered by the grace of God and the blood of Jesus. You deserve the same freedom that was afforded to King David by the same God who created you and loves you. The Bible promises us that every sin will be covered. Our heavy chains can be laid down, and we can walk in the truth, and that truth will set us free!