“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9 NKJV)
It’s perhaps the worst kept secret of mankind: people are sinners. As John wrote this letter to believers, he was addressing a mistaken theology that still exists – once we come to Christ, we have no sins. While our sin – that separation from God – is gone, we still do things contrary to His will and commit sins. Any other understanding of sin is self-deception. It’s not so much that we’re lying as that because we’ve deceived ourselves into believing something that isn’t true. That’s why the truth isn’t in us. When we face reality, though, and confess our sins to God, He’ll forgive. He’ll cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I’m amazed when people say something like their sins are too bad for God to forgive. When Jesus died on the cross He paid the penalty for all sins. We never surprise God with our sins. He doesn’t say, “Never saw that one coming…not sure if I can forgive that sin.” He’s faithful and just to forgive us no matter how we’ve shown our sin.
When we’ve done something wrong, guilt gnaws at us. We don’t want to face the person we sinned against. We don’t want to talk with God about it. Sin destroys our relationships with others and with God. Rather than hiding our sins from God, we’re called to confess them. We confess by telling God what we did and that we agree with Him that we did wrong. God will always forgive. People may not, but it’s far better to live in a strained relationship when you’ve apologized than when you’re afraid to give the other person a chance to forgive. As a corollary, if someone sins against us, we need to forgive them before they ask for forgiveness and be ready to let them know if and when they ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is an amazing act of love. God forgives us because of His love. We can forgive others because of our love for them which comes from God.
Lord, I don’t know how You can forgive me, but I’m thankful that You do. Change my heart so that I find ways to forgive others instead of seeking to get back at them.