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I was taught that if you hurt someone or offend someone, you apologize and ask the person to forgive you. The other morning I was impressed with the thought of how I have hurt and offended my heavenly Father, and how I needed to tell him, “I’m sorry.” So, here is a portion of my apology note to my heavenly Father:

For the times I taught your word in my own strength and for my own glory, I’m sorry.

For the times when I thought I was You, I’m sorry.

For the times I said you existed, but lived like you didn’t, I’m sorry.

For the years that I was angry at how “church people” treated me, I’m sorry.

For the times I was jealous/envious of another’s gifting or their success, I’m sorry.

For the times I let days go by without talking with you, I’m sorry.

For the times I was more concerned about my blog traffic and stats than about your glory and honor, I’m sorry.

For the times when I thought it was all about me, I’m sorry.

For the times I embarrassed the Kingdom with my words/actions, I’m sorry.

For the times I crucified you all over again, I’m sorry.

For the times I took the “second look,” I’m sorry.

For the times I had the attitude of the older brother, I’m sorry.

For the times when I used people for my own benefit and gain, I’m sorry.

For the times I put the church before my first church (family), I’m sorry.

For the times I was self-righteous and judged others harshly, I’m sorry.

For the times I knew what was right but did what was wrong, I’m sorry.

For the times my motives were tainted with personal gain and security, I’m sorry.

For the times I harbored unforgiveness and bitterness toward others, I’m sorry.

For the times I placed my priorities ahead of yours, I’m sorry.

For the times I posed and managed an image to impress people, I’m sorry.

For the times I clouded the truth to save myself, I’m sorry.

For the times I simply went through the motions, I’m sorry.

For the times I breathed your air, ate your food, used your gifts, and enjoyed your blessings, without saying thank you, I’m sorry.

Saying I’m sorry is the first step to experiencing freedom from the guilt of our sin. But, what are we actually saying when we say: “I’m Sorry?” I think that it means at least four things:

1. Saying “I’m sorry” means that we are adjusting our thinking about God. Some have bought into a hellish lie that God is a vengeful God who keeps a record of our wrongs. We are forgiven because God says we’re forgiven, and he cannot and will not lie. When we say: “I’m sorry,” we are declaring that God is gracious and compassionate; God is longsuffering; God is ready to forgive all sins, transgression and rebellion. (Exodus 34:5-7)

2. Saying “I’m sorry” means that we are agreeing with God about our sins. Confession is agreeing with God about what God says about our sins. When we confess our sins, we don’t attempt to justify, rationalize or explain. We humbly and honestly side with God. When we say, “I’m sorry,” we are admitting that our sins break the heart of God. 1 John 1:9 says: if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

3. Saying “I’m sorry” means we are abandoning our sins. We have been conditioned have emotional confessions all the while hanging on to our sins. But Proverbs 28:13 says: People who cover their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy. Confession is uncovering our sins and repentance is walking away from our sins. When we say, “I’m sorry” but hold on to our sins, sometimes God has to break us in order to wake us to the ugliness of our sin and the beauty of his grace.

4. Saying “I’m sorry” means we are accepting God’s complete forgiveness for all our sins. Only God can forgive your sins. One of the reasons we are saddled with guilt is because the enemy has convinced us that we can forgive ourselves. Our freedom is going to come when we stop placing what we believe about ourselves above what God says about us. If your word about yourself is stronger than God’s word about you, then you have become your own idol. We can accept and receive God’s complete forgiveness of our sins because of what Jesus did on the cross. His death on the cross has secured the forgiveness of our sins.

We are forgiven! Our sins are covered! He doesn’t count our sins against us! We are free! Let’s walk in that freedom, today!

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