As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3: 12-14 (NRSV)
Therefore confess your sins to one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. James 5:16 (NRSV)
Bob Alderson is from Oklahoma. "You are forgiven." When Bob heard those words, a burden of guilt was lifted from him. He had called a longtime friend to confess a wrong that he had committed against him 51 years before.
Bob had confessed the sin to God, but he had never admitted it to his friend until now. He had waited all these years to tell him because he was embarrassed and ashamed of what he had done. Knowing that he was a faithful Christian, Bob felt confident that he would respond the way he did. If he had just admitted his sin to him when it occurred, Bob might not have had to carry that guilt for so many years.
The Bible tells us to confess our sins to God and to one another. It is much easier to confess to God than to a person. After all, God promises to forgive us. This is a certainty that we don't have when it comes to other people. But Bob believes the Bible tells us to confess to our brothers and sisters so that both parties can heal. Bob is truly thankful for God's forgiveness and for forgiveness from people he has wronged.
Prayer: Merciful God, thank you for forgiving us when we sincerely confess to you. Thank you also for the forgiveness of others. Help us all to move toward the wholeness that you offer, in Jesus' name. Amen.