I heard a man in a church who had really hurt someone try to confess his sin with these words:
“I’m sorry if I’ve done something to upset you.”
That sounds like an apology to get someone off your back. Let me tell you, if you don’t really apologize, it’s only a matter of time until you hurt the person again.
How about this apology: “It wasn’t intentional.”
There’s an apology from a person who may not have intentionally started off trying to hurt you, but he wasn’t making much of an effort not to hurt you either.
Or these words of “confession”: “It wasn’t personal.” Huh? That’s like saying, “It wasn’t personal to me so you shouldn’t take it personally either, even though I am sure it really hurt you.”
When you own your stuff and truly make an honest confession it involves what author Ken Sande calls the 7 A’s of confession:
- Address everyone involved (All those whom you affected)
- Avoid if, but, and maybe (Do not try to excuse or diminish the effect of your wrongs)
- Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions)
- Acknowledge the hurt (Express sorrow for hurting someone)
- Accept the consequences (Such as making restitution)
- Alter your behavior (Change your attitudes and actions)
- Ask for forgiveness
You might not have to go through all 7 every time you confess a sin, but the point is, the more thoughtful and sincerely you confess, the more likely it is your confession will promote forgiveness and reconciliation.