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There are two knee-jerk responses
You don’t confess in a vacuum, as though confession is isolated from the other aspects of repentance. If someone comes to you, asking about confessing their sin to their spouse, you want to examine the full matter. You want to serve them comprehensively.
Each situation is different. No two people, couples, marriage, sin event(s), walk with the Lord, backgrounds, and current relationship with the Lord are the same. Thus, you want to be careful when hearing what others did and taking your cues from their experience.
Anecdotal evidence is just that: an account, which could be true or false and reliable or not. You can find encouragement in another’s story, but a disaster if you follow that unique experience. Of course, the opposite is also true: it could be what you should do, but first, you must work through the layers of your unique situation to see what part you might imitate from someone else’s experience.
The Bible does not give a timeline to confess. For example,
You don’t want to set up artificial or unrealistic timelines for a confession to happen. E.g., a husband sins against his wife and is ready to receive her forgiveness. But she is not prepared. He could say the words, “will you forgive me,” but it would be a formality without transactional force.
It’s essential to remember that confessional opportunities require two people who are willing to give and receive.
There are situations where a person cannot (or should not) confess their sin against another person to that person.
Though he may need to confess this to his wife, it might not be the first thing he should do. You must examine all the issues, not just the past, hidden sin. All past, secret sins are not the same, and the process will vary.
Couples do not mature at the same time, pace, or depth. You want to take a measure of their marriage to craft a plan for Biff’s repentance.
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Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).