+ It is necessary to reflect upon the thoughts, words, and deeds that we have committed, which do not reflect our status as a baptized child of God. It can be helpful to reflect upon the Ten Commandments (See chapter 4b. Preparing), to identify how we have sinned. Another similar resource to consider is the seven deadly sins (pride, anger, lust, envy, greed, sloth, and gluttony), that we have committed. It is necessary that we be specific in our confession. For example: I need to stop lying to my boss, instead of, I need to be more honest. Our confession needs to be specific about what we have actually done, or left undone.
+ After we have identified a particular sin that we have committed, we next need to ask: Why did I commit that sin? The answer to this question is critical because sin is often an attempt to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way.
+ Next, we want to ask, What has happened as a result of my sin? In other words, What are some of the negative consequences of my sin? For instance, a common consequence is that our sin of lying can evolve into a chronic pattern of lying.
+ It is helpful to recognize that often our sinning has hurt others in our lives. If we have hurt another person we need to seek reconciliation with them (Matthew 18:15)
+ Confession is not just about recognizing what we have done, but how we will need to change in order to avoid a repeating pattern of sin. This involves trying to set right what we did wrong, in a very intentional manner, so that a pattern of sinning is not established.
+ The most important reason to confess our sins is to receive God’s forgiveness. When God forgives us of our sins, he forgives all of our sins. An important way to recognize God’s complete forgiveness of our sins is to make the sign of the cross upon our forehead or chest, which affirms God’s unconditional forgiveness for the baptized and adopted children in his family.
+ Read aloud Psalm 51:1, 10-12 or Psalm 103:8-13, for the assurance of God’s loving forgiveness.
How often do you participate in confession?
Why do you think God wants us to confess our sins before he forgives us?