People “sin” everyday.  Sin is never “God’s Will” and yet, it happens everyday in this fallen place, under the watchful love and care of God and through the work of our enemy and their partnership with the flesh/false self. Like with your children, they do not always do what you ask or need them to do, we can not control all they should say and do. We can not control all they shouldn’t say and not do as well. And so, mistakes are made.

God is in control, and yet doesn’t seem to exercise the power and authority to make us do what is right nor "make us" do what isn’t wrong. He prefers a more dangerous path: that we walk with Him, trust Him, and allow His way to become our way. In the process of learning, a lot of mistakes are made. The first step in admitting a mistake, confessing a wrong, is seeing it! We must see how these mistakes compromise our hearts and often involve the hurting of the hearts of others. By the way, those "others" are image bearers too—the redeemed and the "not yet" redeemed children of God.

When one of my daughters hurts one of my other daughters, it pains me. I wonder how it pains God when we use one another, hurt one another, explode in anger at one another, ignore each other, talk harshly to or about each other, when we withhold love from each other and instead offer judgment?

I heard once that our problem is we want grace for ourselves and justice for others.  Yep, I know that drill all too well.

In order to confess our sins—the mistakes we have made—we first must see them. It’s no sense apologizing for something you don’t see or believe you didn’t do  or worse, feel justified somehow in what you did say or do. Not good.

“Dear Jesus, forgive me of my sins.”

Not a bad thing. It’s maybe a start, but really? That’s the best we can do, a blanket unawareness box check? Not good.

Intimacy with God requires intimate attention to matters of the heart. Caring enough to search our hearts for both what is good (our true selves, true colors), and what is bad (how the false self works to lure us into compromise and the hurtful offerings that flow to the other image bearers of God).

Confession and forgiveness are only available to those who are awake and alert. When practiced, they bring about a process of purity, and purity is a GREAT way to experience the heart of God. The “fruit of” experiencing the love, goodness, and kindness of God is the ability to lovingly and kindly forgive others. Chains are broken through forgiveness.   Prisons are raided and hostages are set free through forgiveness. Oh, other image bearers will still crash into you in life, just as you and I will crash into others from time to time. The invitation of these crashes, the remedy? ... Seeing what is at work, confessing it, and asking or receiving God's forgiveness and hopefully the forgiveness of others.

Where does God want to take you in your apprenticeship of forgiveness?

Ask Him …

God, where am I hurting others or where have I been hurt by others?

He seems to be pretty serious about this forgiveness thing and its weight, power and significance to a Kingdom Life. Ask Him, and listen to your thoughts and memories. Pay attention to the faces and moments He brings up in your mind. I have found once one or two are accessed, several files can come flowing.

Pick the lock the enemy has long had under watch and key in order to keep you from living offended and making offenses. Set your heart free. Set the hearts of others free and learn the glorious skill of loving through being forgiven and forgiving others.