Confessing Our Sin

Confessing Our Sin

When we’ve sinned, whether against God or man, asking forgiveness is one of the
most difficult things we must do. Godly sorrow, which works repentance (2 Cor 7:10),
is difficult to come by when our reputation and our pride are at stake. Admitting we’re
wrong is just plain hard! Pride is a gigantic boulder on the road to reconciliation. When
relationships need to be mended, whether with God or men, we need to take heed how
we try to mend. Listen to some potentially wrong ways to restore relationships:

“I’m sorry, but it wasn’t entirely my fault.” When we recognize our faults, pride will
begin rationalizing and making excuses. Relationships are not healed when we
attempt to shift blame to someone or something else. Adam tried to blame God and
his wife for his sin (cf. Gen. 3:12), but ultimately he was held accountable for what he
could control. Personally shoulder the responsibility for our sin, and don’t try to shift
the blame.

“I’ve fallen into sin, and need forgiveness.” The Bible teaches individual
accountability for sin (Rom 14:12). “I’ve fallen into sin” implies an uncontrollable
circumstance when in fact, sin is a choice we make (cf. 1 Cor 10:13)! God expects us
to say the same thing about our guilt that He does (cf. 1 John 1:8-10). If God says, “you
have sinned!” My response in seeking forgiveness: “I have sinned” (Psalm 51:4).

“If I’ve sinned against you, I apologize.” Sometimes we know full well what sin we
have committed, but this kind of apology is offered in an attempt to salvage our pride.
Once again pride rears its ugly head as we admit the possibility of our sin, but not the
actual fact. Sincere, Godly repentance seeks forgiveness for specific failures, not for
vague possibilities of sin. How can we be sorrowful over something that might have
occurred? And how can God or man forgive something that might have taken place?

The Bible says we are to, “confess our sins one to another” (James 5:16). While
this passage is not advising us to “air our dirty laundry” to everyone, there are times
when confession is commanded. If awe have offended or wronged someone, we need
to restore that relationship through properly confessing our misdeed and seeking
forgiveness. Here is one Biblical way to confess sin to another:

“I have sinned in ________ (name specific sin), will you forgive me?” — Tremendous
humility and courage are needed to make a statement such as this one, but the Bible
says that true forgiveness and reconciliation are found in this kind of repentance. Our
relationship with God and with men will be stronger when we exercise this kind of
confession. May God help us to seek stronger and deeper relationships through
admitting our wrongs!

– John Baker, Katy church of Christ


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