We have been looking at, in our current sermon series, a biblical response to sin. Sin makes relationships messy and it is only through grace and truth that we can love others through the messiness.
Last week we focused specifically on truth and one of the things that I was strongly convinced that needed to be a part of the message was that: we can’t offer what we won’t accept.
Too many times, Christians have no effectiveness at leading others to the truth of God’s Word because we have not dealt with the sin in our lives and in our relationships. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a)
If you or someone you know have been living in sin and need to allow truth into a relationship so that healing may begin, here are some steps to offer and grant forgiveness from FamilyLife Today.
The offender needs to seek forgiveness. Begin by admitting to God and to yourself that you sinned. Repent to God and ask for forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Be specific and be willing to accept responsibility for the consequences. Consider and be willing to address the attitudes and desires that may have led to the sin.
Humbly seek forgiveness from those effected by your sin by being willing to say you were wrong; say you are sorry and by repenting and asking for forgiveness.
Seek God on what changes need to be made to overcome this sin, rebuild the trust of those effected and seek accountable relationships to not repeat the offense.
The offended needs to grant forgiveness. True forgiveness is not pretending that something did not happen. It is also not conditional, it is not forgetting, and it is not an automatic cure for the hurt.
Granting forgiveness is a choice to set the person free from the debt of their sin. It is an attitude of letting go of resentment and vengeance and has to involve rebuilding trust, all as an act of obedience to God.
Granting forgiveness involves doing it privately with God first. Doing it specifically, generously and graciously. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
The world needs Jesus, so as the Church, we need to get over ourselves and deal with our messiness. We need to confess our sins, seek forgiveness and grant forgiveness and let God heal us so that we can be effective at leading people to Christ.