Sin happens. It is a fact of life. At some point you are going to offend someone.
Then again, you might already have. There's a breech between you and Person X because you were terse, unfaithful, or deceptive.
Proverbs 28:13 says that the one who conceals his sin will not prosper, but the one who confesses and forsakes it will find mercy.
In sum, you are called to get right with that person. That means confessing your sin and clearing the breech that exists.
How exactly does that happen? Peacemaker Ministries lays down seven guidelines for mending relationships. Here are the first three...
1. Address everyone involved.
Dealing with sin means dealing with everyone who was affected by it. So don't cut any corners or try to save face by limiting the range of your repentance. If you yelled at your wife, apologize to her and the kids. They heard it and need to hear you own up to it. If your sin against a co-worker affected the rest of the company, you better make amends with your boss too.
2. Avoid qualifiers and excuses.
We like to shroud our confession with words like "if, but, and maybe." Such terms help to shift the blame and make us sound more innocent than we are.
Listen to the difference: "If I've don't anything wrong, please forgive me." (Well, did you or didn't you do something wrong?) "I'm sorry, but you did do ___ to me." (Was that an apology or a backdoor attack?).
Any verbiage that hints at a reluctance to confess usually indicates that there really hasn't been true confession. So nix words like however, perhaps, possibly, & I guess and be genuine about your guilt in the matter.
3. Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions)
"I'm sorry that I hurt you. I know I'm not the best friend." That's nice, but its drowning in a hazy fog of vague ambiguity. Confessing sin means owning up to exactly what you did wrong. We "clear the air" in our relationships by being clear about sin(s) we've committed.
It certainly is harder, but much more honest to say, "I am sorry for being so critical of you. I was jealous that you got that promotion.
Next week we'll consider the final "A's" of confession. But this week you can be intentional in making amends by putting these steps into practice. Who have you offended? How can you implement this advice?
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A Reformed and family integrated Church in Ashland, Ohio.
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