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Ep. 287 Considering the Curious Contours of Confession

Ep. 287 Considering the Curious Contours of Confession

Shows Main Idea – Lucia and I were meeting with a couple, and the conversation centered on the idea of confession. I shared some things with them to help as they continue to grow in loving each other well. At one point, the wife said she had not considered how confession and repentance require two willing parties. She only thought of the offender’s responsibility, not the offended’s. This episode is some of the things I shared with them, specifically about confession.

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Show Notes

You may want to read:

Learning Repentance

  • Repentance is many steps—thirteen altogether.
  • Confession is only one step in the process.
  • Repentance requires two willing parties, not just the offender.
  • There is a responsibility on the offended to cooperate with the Lord to remove sin and reconcile afterward.
  • If you want to learn the entire thirteen-steps of repentance, you may read the article, listen to the podcast, look at the poster, and watch the shorter and longer videos.

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What Is Confession?

  • Agreement with God and possibly others—if others were inside the sphere of the offense.
  • Agreement with specificity for two reasons:
    • You want to make it easy for the offended to forgive you.
    • You must know what you did so you know what to put off.

Confession Heart-Prep

  • The offended must prepare their heart to receive the confession. It’s the idea of pre-forgiveness.
    • You’re hurt.
    • You may need time.
    • You can forgive when you’re not entirely ready, but you must be honest about your heart’s attitude.

Parenthetical Thoughts on Confession

  • There is another aspect of pre-forgiveness where you must “forgive in your heart” because you cannot talk to the offender.
    • When you can’t or shouldn’t meet with your offender:
      • Victims of abuse
      • The offender is dead.
      • The offender is not asking you to forgive them.


  • In many cases, there is a need for a double-confession—when the offended person sins in response to the offender’s sin.
    • As you acknowledge their sin, you may have to ask for forgiveness for your sinful response to their sin.
    • If you don’t do this, there will be unresolved sin between you, but it’s yours this time.

When It’s Real

  • You will know if the confession and acceptance of the confession are real if you can talk about it afterward.
    • If you can’t talk about what happened, you must revisit your understanding and practice of repentance to discern the issue.
    • If you can’t talk about it, you will not help the offender from doing it again.
      • You want to move from a pattern,
      • to episodes, and then
      • to virtually non-existent episodes.

The goal is to move past confession to the work of putting it off, renewing the mind, and putting on a new behavior. If you don’t do confession well, there will always be something between you, and you won’t mature well together, spread God’s fame, or become good disciple-makers.

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