The Block confessions

In the wake of the cheating scandals on The Block, Mark Stephens considers how hard it is to confess wrongdoing.

This week of Sydney lockdown brought a delicious surprise: my kids started talking ethics at the dinner table. I’d like to say it’s because they’d started reading Aristotle.

But alas, they’ve just been watching The Block. For those not in the know, The Block has erupted in a cheating scandal because two of the teams had illegal access to the production schedule.

In a flash, The Block turned into an episode of The Good Place. I would not have been surprised if Scotty Cam started giving lectures on utilitarianism. Come to think of it, that would be amazing.

Throughout the sordid saga, the common denominator has been how hard it is to confess and to apologise.

Over the roughly 1 000 hours of television that Channel Nine has devoted to this pressing moral issue, we have seen human beings struggle to say “I was wrong,” “I’m responsible,” and even “please forgive me.”

This isn’t something that just happens on TV renovation shows. The “non-apology apology” even has its own Wikipedia entry, which is surely some kind of evidence for its ubiquity (“I’m on Wikipedia, therefore I am”).

We’re so used to hearing “I’m sorry to anyone who was offended,” or “mistakes were made,” or now “this is my truth.”

And what is so apparent, even on a home-renovation show, is that without confession, relationships break. Without truth, life doesn’t heal, it scars.

The ancient teachers of wisdom in Israel provide us with a proverb worth remembering: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”