Stop Seeking Forgiveness

Forgiveness

For years, every night before I went to bed, I would spend time thinking about every sin I had committed and asking God to forgive me for each of them individually. Then, I would ask for forgiveness for any sins I had committed that I did not know about or had forgotten about.

Evangelicals told me that this was the right way to confess your sins. They would quote, from the King James Version, of course,  1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…” This was interpreted as meaning that we had to do this for every single sin that we could remember. So, we had to confess each sin so that it would be forgiven. I was afraid that I forgot to confess a sin, I would not be forgiven of that sin and would go to hell. I would try my hardest to remember all of my sins and list them for God (because, evidently, he didn’t know what they were).

Is this how confession works? Is this the way you receive forgiveness?

This verse is often misunderstood. This is referring to when we commit our lives to Christ. That is when we confess our sins to God and He declares us forgiven. It’s not a process we have to follow with every individual sin. When Jesus died to forgive my sins, I had not yet committed any so they were all in the future.

YOU are forgiven.

You ARE forgiven.

You are FORGIVEN.

You are forgiven by God because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. You don’t need to ask God to forgive you for every sin you commit. Your sins have been forgiven.

Don’t live your life asking forgiveness for every sin, live your life knowing you have been forgiven of every sin.

Live in God’s forgiveness.

Living in God’s forgiveness means, partly, that we are willing to forgive others because Christ has already forgiven us. This is why the biblical model for confession is to confess to another follower of Christ.

Confession

Confession is admitting to the wrong you have done (or are doing).

The Catholics have the right idea when it comes to confessing your sin. Scripture says, “Confess your fault to each other and you will be saved.”

Confessing our sin to God is not very helpful, He already knows you sinned. It’s when you confess to another sinner that the healing can really begin. There is something therapeutic about admitting your sin to another human being. When you do that it forces you to be vulnerable, to admit that you are human, to willingly show to someone that you are flawed and you are not the perfect human being you so often pretend to be.

That’s the main reason we want to keep our sin a secret. When we confess, we often feel shame and guilt, and those feelings are so negative that we try to avoid them.

Shame and guilt are not required for confession.

It is important that you choose a person you can trust to confess your sins to. Priests and ministers are obliged to keep your conversations confidential (unless you intend to harm yourself or someone else). Make sure that you let the person know that what you are about to tell them is confidential.

Priest, Pastor, Rabbi, Therapist are all good options.

Here are some basic guidelines for finding someone you can confess to:

  1. Someone of the same gender
  2. Not your spouse
  3. Someone you trust
  4. Who can be objective
  5. Will not judge

About Matthew Thisse

Matthew Thisse is a Jesus follower, single father, associate pastor, and corporate trainer. He is a former Evangelical and a failed fundamentalist.

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