As Christians, we have a responsibility to confess our sins to one another and mend our broken relationships. It is our duty to seek pardon from those we've offended and make things right.
Our last post began to look at Ken Sande's 7 A's of confession. We noted that we must...
1. Address everyone involved.
2. Avoid word that excuse or qualify (but, perhaps, however, etc)
3. Admit specific sins (both attitudes and actions).
Here are four more helps to healthy confession:
4. Acknowledge the hurt.
We've all seen kids apologize when a parent makes them say they are sorry. Their attitude usually lacks sympathy. We instinctively know that this icy act isn't true repentance.
When we confess our sin, we should acknowledge the depth of our offense. We might express that we are truly sorry by saying somthing like, "I understand that my words angered you" or "I let you down by not keeping that promise. You depended upon me and have a right to be frustrated."
5. Accept the consequences.
The Bible requires restitution where appropriate. That may mean financial reimbursement, but it may also take some other form (such as vindicating a ruined reputation).
The point is that we ought not to try to wiggle out of the consequences of our actions. We should admit, "I deserve to be fired (or grounded, etc)" and own up to the fallout as well as the error.
6. Alter your behavior.
Repentance means going in a new direction. It is an about face in life actions. If you can articulate this in your confession, it shows you've already started down the right direction. A husband may say, "Next time I will be more sensitive to how your day has gone before I..."
7. Ask for forgiveness (and allow for time).
"Will you please forgive me." These words might be implied if all the pervious steps have been taken and they might not need to be expressly stated. However, clarity is key. Forgiveness is the pathway to reconciliation. We do not want a grudge to be held or any lingering animosity to get in the way.
Understandably, we may need to allow a person some time to work through their emotions. So we should not force their forgiveness. But we should seek it in so far as we can.