Confessing Unknown Sins
Have you ever had someone angry at you but you have no idea why? Those of us who are married have had this happen on more than one occasion I'm sure. It can be frustrating trying to mend a relationship when you aren't even sure what you did to break it in the first place. Often-times, the offended party will stew in their anger until you figure out what it is that you did wrong. Or we meet someone for the first time and they do something that annoys or offends us but since we don't know them that well we let is slide. Over time, they continue to do that very same thing because they have no idea how we feel about it and the anger continues to grow.
Is God like that? Does He wait for us to figure out every single sin we've ever committed and then confess each one individually before He forgives us? Are we supposed to have the self-awareness and spiritual sensitivity to be able to notice right away every single time we sin and confess it on the spot? What if we have a sin in our lives that we continue to commit without realizing it? Can we have true fellowship with God in that case?
David asked this question in Psalm 19:12 - "Who perceives his unintentional sins?" In other words - who is able to know every single sin they have ever or will ever commit? How can we possibly keep track of every evil action, word, or thought? We can't, and the good news is, we don't have to. In the second part of that same verse David says, "Cleanse me from my hidden faults." God doesn't expect you to always be able to specifically lay out each wrong; His desire is that you have a heart bent toward repentance.
Sure, if you pray that prayer as a way to 'get you off the hook' for all those sins you couldn't care less about, then God probably isn't going to honor that prayer. But if you approach Him with humility, understanding your sinful heart and inability to walk in holiness apart from Him, He will forgive - completely.
As a matter of fact, when we do confess specific sins (which we should regularly do), God takes our prayer for forgiveness a step further, cleansing us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
I am in no way suggesting confessing specific sins isn't important and that all you need to do is pick one sin per day to confess in order to stay pure before God. My point is that "God looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7), so we need to be sure that our hearts have a posture of repentance and humility. That's why David says elsewhere, "The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God" (Psalm 51:17).
Understand and rejoice in the truth that our God is "...compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love" (Psalm 103:8). Every single day, confess your sins to Him; known and unknown because He will be quick and faithful to forgive.