However You are just in all that has befallen us; for You have dealt faithfully, but we have done wickedly.
The Greek word for confess helps us understand confession of sin—and Nehemiah 9:33 gives us a good example. The Greek word for confess is homologeo derived from two words that mean “same” and “speak.” So homologeo means to “say the same thing as.” Therefore, when we confess our sins to God, we say the same thing about our sin that God would say. We don’t defend, deny, or dissemble; we say what God says. If God says our behavior was wrong, we also say it was wrong.
One of the longest and most beautiful prayers in Scripture is a Levitical prayer of confession, spoken on behalf of all Israel (Nehemiah 9:5-38). It was a confession of the rebellion against God that led Israel into captivity in Babylon. In 34 verses the prayer recounts the history of God’s faithfulness, as summarized in verse 33: You were righteous and right; we were sinful and wrong. They even put the confession in writing and signed it (verse 38)!
When we sin, we must say the same thing about our sin that God says, knowing He will forgive and cleanse us (1 John 1:9).
The beginning of repentance is the confession of guilt. John Calvin