Here is a lesson that I’ve recently given my children (and the children at Church).

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This verse tells us we are to confess our sin.  To confess means that we acknowledge that we’ve done something wrong – we tell someone and the right person to tell is God.  God wants us to tell Him that we know we’ve done something wrong.  Remember the story in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve did something wrong – God came to them and said, “What have you done?”  He knew what they had done – He knows everything but He wanted them to know what they had done, and to be truthful about it.  He wanted them to confess – to acknowledge it, to admit it and to tell Him about it.  When we confess our sins, God will forgive our sins and cleanse us.

We need to be specific – it is easy to gloss things over with words like “I was disobedient” or “I did the wrong thing”.  God wants us to be truthful about our hearts – we need to say what is going on.

We need to be humble – acknowledging our wrong doing is a very humbling experience – and one that we often wish to worm out of.  When we are in a conflict (big or small) and everyone knows things are tense it is easy just to say ‘sorry’ – afterall they know what you are sorry for but acknowledging it, confessing it means putting it out there in the open.

We need to be assured – the last part of this verse makes it very clear – God will forgive us, and cleans us – that is that…. If doubts and niggles start coming back then we need to believe God’s Word – He says He will forgive.  It is a done deal.  Believe it!

There are four steps to fixing a broken relationship (afterall that is what sin does – it breaks relationships:  vertical relationships between God and man, and horizontal relationships between man and man).

  • Confess – admit what it was you have done wrong
  • Repent – say you are sorry and are committed to changing
  • Ask for forgiveness (and receiving it when it is offered)
  • Restore – assuring the other person of your commitment to them and your relationship, fix anything tangible

It is easy to just say sorry and move on.  But when we go through all four steps we thoroughly deal with the sin in our heart.

Be Intentional

 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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