Do you carry a burden for something awful that you have done? Or maybe you are troubled by something you think you should have done, but didn't do. Are your memories an ongoing source of pain and suffering for you? God has words of healing, forgiveness and hope for you. Allow yourself to begin to let go of the guilt that you carry.
“Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love. Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins! Wash away all my evil and make me clean from my sin!”
Psalm 51.1,2 (GNT)
Like Tommy, we desperately want to be freed from any guilt that imprisons us. The most important aspect of our confession is that it be genuine. When we are honest with ourselves about our wrongdoing, we will find peace in pouring out our hearts in genuine confession to God.
Dr. David Augsburger suggests that we could speak of forgiving as “for-grieving” (Augsburger, David. Helping People Forgive. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996). For-grieving refuses the shortcut resolution of forgetting the offense, and intentionally remembers, returns to the loss, relives the event, and retells the story until peace has been made at a level that permits an opening to a future of healing.
Maybe you can relate to some of these contrite expressions of Tommy.
“Lord, I do not know how to pray. Yet, I am sorry for the pain that I have caused others and myself. Please forgive me.”
“God, I am sad about the many wasted years of my life. I’ve been unable to accept your love or the love of anyone else. I ruined my relationship with my parents, my siblings, my wife, and my daughter. I grieve the loss of those broken relationships and the pain caused by my wrongdoing. I am so sorry. Please forgive me.”
“Lord, help me in my unbelief which wants to limit your grace. I am shaken by the hurtful statements, abusive behaviors, and mean-spirited actions which have characterized my life. I remember, I grieve, and I ask for your forgiveness.”
When we confess our wrongdoing, we acknowledge that we have hurt God, others, and ourselves. We no longer deny our wrongdoing. We no longer withdraw and hide, fearing that we could never be accepted. We reflect and examine our offenses and the negative impact of these wrongs. We release our burdened spirit of guilt and shame. And finally, we allow the Holy Spirit to reconstruct our relationship with God and other people.
God desires us to be honest in our admission of guilt and wrongdoing.
Joshua said to him, “My son, tell the truth
here before the LORD, the God of Israel, and
confess. Tell me now what you have done. Don’t
try to hide it from me.”
God allows us to confess our wrongdoing without fear of rejection.
“LORD God of Israel, you are just, but you have
let us survive. We confess our guilt to you; we
have no right to come into your presence.”
God is pleased when we willingly confess our wrongdoing with a genuine heart.
“Now then, confess your sins to the LORD, the
God of your ancestors, and do what pleases him.”
Our true confessions made to God will leave us refreshed and delighted because we have pleased God.
Happy are those whose sins
whose wrongs are pardoned.
Happy is the one whom the LORD
does not accuse of doing
and who is free from all deceit.
When I did not confess my sins,
I was worn out from crying all
Day and night you punished me,
my strength was completely
as moisture is dried up by the
Then I confessed my sins to you;
I did not conceal my
I decided to confess them to you,
and you forgave all my sins.
God shows us mercy and forgiveness as we confess our sins.
You will never succeed in life if you try to
hide your sins. Confess them and give them up;
then God will show mercy to you.
We can boldly approach God because we have been forgiven in Christ.
We have, then, my friends, complete freedom
to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the
death of Jesus. He opened for us a new way, a
living way, through the curtain – that is, through
his own body. We have a great priest in charge
of the house of God. So let us come near to God
with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with
hearts that have been purified from a guilty
conscience and with bodies washed with clean
water. Let us hold on firmly to the hope we
profess, because we can trust God to keep his
When we confess our sins, we find healing and forgiveness.
This prayer made in faith will heal the sick;
the Lord will restore them to health, and the
sins they have committed will be forgiven. So
then, confess your sins to one another and pray
for one another, so that you will be healed. The
prayer of a good person has a powerful effect.
God forgives us when we confess our wrongdoing.
If we confess our sins to God, he will keep his
promise and do what is right: he will forgive us
our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing.
1 John 1.9
I have gone astray in the following areas… I have disappointed you in the following ways… I have failed to obey your commands in these areas… I have been mean-spirited and unkind to the following people…
Please Lord, forgive me of all that I have confessed to you.
In your merciful name. Amen.