Guidelines for Confession

We can learn a great deal about how to interact with one another from looking at how Jesus treated Peter, so that He could restore Him. For Christians today to enjoy all the blessings of living together as faith families, we must be able to confess our sins—and seek the restoration that forgiveness offers. However, the process of confessing sins has many risks, and we should consider a number of factors before we do so. Here are just a few:

  • When should we confess?

    When you first realize the sin. The second best choice is before you end the day: “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph. 4:26, NRSV). This is still very good advice.

    If it is too late for either one or two, then do so as soon as you can. And don’t confess to someone against whom you have sinned if he or she knows nothing about it and it would hurt him or her worse to know.

  • How should we confess?

    Talk to God first. It may be desirable to talk to someone else first, someone absolutely trustworthy and entirely confidential. Make an appointment: “I have something important to tell you. Can we talk this evening?” Be sure it’s a quiet time that won’t be interrupted by children, telephones, or business. And be sure it’s private, unless you have decided you need a third person.

    Tell the truth. Listen. Accept the consequences, whatever they may be.

    Go and sin no more.*

* Adapted with permission from the iFollow Discipleship Resource, ©North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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