1) How do we keep confession from becoming empty and meaningless?
It is easy to let our confessions become mechanical. We repeat the same words, or confess the same sins, and then we hear that we are forgiven. Sometimes we can get lost in the pattern and forget the meaning by reciting the words without thinking.
Yet, our confession retains its value when we do it in view of the cross. There our savior gave up his life! He bore the particular sins that you have committed. Confession is not meaningless, but in it, we can die to our sins and rise as Christ did. (1 John 1:9)
2) Read Psalm 32:8
David is using himself as an example. Look at the healing and forgiveness he has recieved. His example, as well as the example of Israel when they returned from their sins is a testimony to us about the faithfulness of God.
How can being honest with God about your failures improve your relationship with him?
3) Read Psalm 32:11
God is good! He fills us with his grace and love. He heals the broken hearted. The Lord does not make us upright after we make a complete and perfect confession. He makes us upright through the faith that he gives us. Through this faith God gives forgiveness. Confession is a way of living out our faith and trust in God.
Spiritual exercise- Pray these Penitential Psalms throughout Lent: Psalm 6, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143