Confession and Reconciliation: How to get right with God
So far, on our prayer journey, we’ve delved deep into the power of a God who we praise, ask, intercede, wait for, contemplate and listen to.
But today, we begin by looking inwards, at ourselves.
Our greatest need and God’s greatest gift are the same thing: forgiveness of sins. And to receive it we have only to ask and pass it on. But to ask for it, we must first admit that we need it. Instinctively we wriggle. We want to pass the buck. The man blames the woman. The woman blames the snake. Anything, anyone but us.
At the heart of humanity is the reality that we have all sinned.
At the heart of Christianity is the reality that God is full of grace and unconditional love:
It doesn’t matter what you’ve said or done, what you’ve thought about saying or doing; where you’ve been or who you’ve been there with - there is more grace in God than sin in you. ‘He … always forgives’, says Pope Francis, ‘we get tired of asking forgiveness.’
You cannot be too bad, too broken, or too boring for God’s unconditional love, only too proud to acknowledge how desperately you need it. Ask and you will receive. Take one step towards the Father and he’ll come running toward you. Splutter that unconvincing apology and he’ll hug you silent.’
This reality, that we are fully forgiven and fully accepted by God, is the most amazing gift to receive. But in the Lord’s Prayer, the line, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us,’ doesn’t just end with us.
In this short Bible verse, we are profoundly challenged. To admit our brokenness; to receive forgiveness; and to extend God’s grace to others.
We cannot detach our relationships with people from our relationship with God. We cannot be more reconciled with him than we are with our neighbour. Our prayer lives and our family lives are intricately interwoven. It is ‘as we forgive those who sin against us’ that we ourselves receive forgiveness from God.
Today, ask God to reveal what you need.
Do you need to ask for God’s forgiveness? Do you need to receive God’s forgiveness? Who might you need to forgive?
Holy Spirit, search my heart and show me how to respond to your grace and unconditional love today.