What is Sin?
Sin is selfishness. Sin is doing what you want to do without regard to how it will affect other people. Sin is doing what is wrong, especially when you know in your heart it is not the right thing to do. Sin is the opposite of love – sin focuses only on yourself and not on the needs of anyone else. When you sin, you are living independent of God's Love. Sin is separation from God.
What is Confession?
To confess something means to say it out loud - to admit the truth with your mouth. Usually we think of the word confess in terms of a crime or a sin committed. When someone is asked to confess, they are being asked to tell the truth to another person. Specifically, in this article, we are discussing the confession of sin. This means admitting to God and to another person that you have made choices that were not right – they were sin (selfish) and not loving.
Confession in the Bible
There are two main Bible verses that talk about confessing our sins. The first one is in I John 1:8-9: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is the promise that God will forgive us when we confess (admit) our sins and then He will cleanse us (help us change our ways). The second verse is James 5:16:
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” This verse explains why we confess our sins to another person – so that they may pray for us to be healed. When our hearts are healed, we do not want to sin so much.
Sin in the Bible
Sin is an important concept in the Christian Bible. Sin means disobedience to God. The Ten Commandments give us a description of sin – lying, murder, stealing, adultery, etc. (Deuteronomy 5:4–21). The Bible says that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and wash us from unrighteousness (I John 1:9). To confess means to agree with God that we are doing the wrong thing and we want to stop. When God forgives us, we feel relief - our guilt is taken away. This empowers us to receive God's Love and choose to be loving, not selfish.
What is repentance?
Repentance means to shift your thinking – to look at things differently. Ultimately, it means to agree with God concerning what is sin. When you recognize what you are doing is wrong or sinful, you have a choice to make. Will you choose to do what is right? In order to do that, you change the way you think. You make a different choice – you choose to do what is right. That is repentance (Acts 3:19)
When we were blinded by sin, consumed by our selfishness and self-centered ways, God in His great mercy sent Jesus to die for us. His death opened the way for us to approach God and ask for forgiveness of our sins. We were separated from God by our sin. We could not reach Him. He came to us, in the form of Jesus, God's Son. He showed us the way to God – to love others, to be forgiving, to be obedient to God and honor Him even if it means we will suffer. God's mercy toward us inspires us to live a life of Love and choose not to live a life of sin.
When we do something we know is wrong, it makes us feel guilty. Our conscience judges us and tells us we were wrong. This is like a weight on our soul – we feel it day and night. God offers us forgiveness – to release the weight we are carrying by admitting our sin. His forgiveness is very powerful – it can heal our hearts so that we don't want to sin anymore. He fills us with His love – this enables us to love others instead of being selfish (sinful).
How to Confess
First, admit to yourself that you have sinned. Many people do not want to admit when they are wrong. It is very humbling to do so. Confess your sins to God and ask Him to forgive you and cleanse you so that you can make better choices. He wants to forgive you, so don't be afraid.
Then confess your sins to someone who loves God and follows Him with all their heart (a righteous person). Many people choose to confess to a priest – it is confidential and they will pray for you as the Scripture says (a Confession Prayer).