1st 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 passage of scripture contains a solemn promise to us that God will forgive when we truly confess our sins. Forgiving us alone however is not the ultimately goal, for we also need to have the plague of sin eradicated from our lives, in order for forgiveness to make any sense, or else sin will be repeated again and again. When a person is suffering from cancer, the surgeon handling the case must go to the root of the problem, or else the cancer will return in a more deadly form. It's the same with sin. Unless it is uprooted entirely from our hearts, it will like cancer, return in a more deadly form. This is what Christ was alluding to when he cautioned the man who was healed of an incurable disease that was a direct result of his sins. Let's read, for this principle applies to every living person.
John 5:5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
The nature of this man's sin is not disclosed in the Bible, however, if his sins had violated the rights of anyone, his confession would have to be made not only to God, but also to the one who had been wronged, if the offended one could be located. This is what made Zacchaeus' confession genuine and acceptable in God's sight, for he confessed not only to The Lord, but also to the persons he had defrauded. Let's read:
Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
Thus the scriptures plainly show that true confession must take place horizontally when another human being has been offended, and always vertically too, for sins against ourselves or against others are sins against God. Many people in our day confess only to God, or to their fellowmen when wrongs are committed, but if the Biblical method is not followed, then the sins that were committed in the first place will re-occur sooner or later.
Another important point to note on the issue of confession is that if a person who was wronged by us takes the initiative to offer pardon, that does not relieve us of our duty to confess both to God and man. When Christ was dying on the cross for our sins, He uttered those unforgettable words, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do". If however, confession was not made individually by the offending persons, the forgiveness thus offered by Christ would then become null and void, for no acknowledgement of wrong-doing would have been made to make His forgiveness of any value to them.
Let us therefore consider these truths, and as we interact with others on a daily basis, if we have hurt someone intentionally or inadvertently, let us be quick and ready to confess our sins, for the sooner this is done, the sooner the healing process can take place. We therefore end with a text that should encourage everyone to reconciliation, confession, and forgiveness wherever applicable. Let's read:
Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
May The Lord grant us a humble spirit that these words of encouragement and instruction may be realized and practiced in our lives. "Good night" and God bless!