Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Asking Forgiveness

We live in a culture where people do not take responsibility for their actions. This is really nothing fundamentally new; it goes back to the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:12,13). One of the first results of sin entering the world was a tendency to blame other people. But we have carried this to a fine art. We have accepted a concept of psychological determinism that blames everything on our parents, society, the government, but not on ourselves. The problem with this is if I blame all my wrongdoing on others, how did the others go wrong, and where does this all start in the first place? Or we adopt a concept of relative morals and claim that right and wrong are just a matter of opinion. But we then turn around and blame others for their behavior as if they were really responsible for it. And the irony of this is that God offers forgiveness based on the death of His Son to all who will admit their sinfulness and come to Him (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Acts 26:18). Also, for those who have accepted this forgiveness, the main thing God requires of us is that we admit and repent of our sins rather than trying to deny them (Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 7:10). So we can end up going to great lengths to excuse or hide our sins when there is total forgiveness available if we are willing to admit to those sins.  

But sometimes it is easier to ask forgiveness of God than to admit our sin and ask forgiveness of other people. We know that God is gracious and that He forgives. But of other people we cannot be so sure. Even though God commands forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 2:7), they may not offer it. They may, in fact, not be believers in God at all and feel no obligation to forgive. But we still need to be willing to admit our sins to others and ask forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-26; James 5:16; Romans 12:18). If we know that God has forgiven us, it becomes a basis from which we can go and make things right with others. This can be difficult, but we need to be willing to do it, secure in the fact God forgives us no matter how they choose to react. There are a couple of errors to avoid here. We can try to make up excuses like Adam and Eve and try to find someone else to blame. Or we can apologize too easily and superficially without really meaning it. But the biggest error is to not take responsibility for our actions or apologize at all.

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