"If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 NRSV
For those who watch crime dramas, this will sound familiar. With few exceptions, the plot is usually something list this; a crime is committed; after looking at the evidence and exploring the suspects' alibis, the police determine a prime suspect, which they bring into the interrogation room. The interrogator often promises that the court may be lenient if they confess. Sometimes, but not often, the person so troubled by guilt confesses to the crime usually, though the person tries their best to deny responsibility.
To place context to today's scripture, we need to look at verses 5-10. It begins with "God is light." In God, there is no sin, no darkness, only light. Conversely, darkness, sin, is the absence of light. There is no gray; no "little white lies." We are either in the light or in sin, absent from the light. We cannot claim to be followers of Christ, professing to live righteously while still living in sin. If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves.
By our very natures, we are sinful, but there is hope. In today's verse, we receive the assurance that we will be cleansed by confessing our sins to God. Those deeds that hinder us from a right relationship with God will be erased. We remain in the light through this ongoing act of repentance and reconciliation with God. Unlike the guilty suspect in the crime dramas, hoping for leniency from the court, our God exhibits continual leniency by wiping our records clean when we seek his forgiveness.
God, we give thanks for your light and forgiveness. We confess we have sinned against you in word and deed. Forgive us and cleanse us through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.