Read Psalm 32

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.Matthew 6:12

An article written by Brandon Garrett, professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, describes how easily police can coerce false confessions and how credible those false confessions can appear. “I expected, and think people intuitively think, that a false confession would look flimsy. [But] almost all of these confessions looked uncannily reliable,” said Garrett.

Without coercion in everyday life, though, people generally find great difficulty in admitting their mistakes. “I’m sorry” is never easy to say. As we learned earlier this month, we often prefer to blame others for our failures. Additionally, we may try to ignore how we’ve mishandled a situation or minimized its real impact.

All those evasions lead us far from the Jesus’ way: “Forgive us,” Jesus taught us to pray. This leads us away from pretending that we’re on top of our game. It’s a margin of grace whereby we are invited into the freedom of admitting that we fail, that we misjudge, that we neglect good and commit wrong.

Blessed is the man or woman who lives that kind of authenticity. Whenever we try to cover up our sin, deliberately hiding the truth from others and trying foolishly to hide it from God, our soul health fails: our strength erodes, our joy disappears, and we spiritually limp under the heavy weight of guilt.

Confessing our sin inspires joy and hope, and it also paves the way for granting forgiveness to others. Forgive us as we forgive. This is the trajectory of God’s grace as it moves through us. Receiving the good news that we are imperfect and yet loved by God provides the necessary generosity so that we can forgive those who’ve failed us. Restored relationships are another source of our joy.

Apply the Word

Jesus’ prayer addresses two temptations. The first is to ignore our sin, which can manifest as self-righteousness, defensiveness, hypocrisy, and a critical spirit. The second is unforgiveness. Though we are not solely responsible for reconciliation, we have a responsibility to forgive. “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18).

Pray with Us

Pray for the spiritual leadership of Betel Church.