If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9


I’ve been writing about the Atlantic Slave Trade and the efforts last year to have those who were responsible apologize for those great sins. William Wilberforce, the abolitionist, wrote the following about those who were not able to see the sinfulness: “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

Let’s look at what dealing with sin looks like in our own smaller lives today.

Years ago, when I was still driving, I was pulled over after going through a school zone. The officer asked me, “Did you know what your speed was?” I didn’t.

When he told me I’d been going too fast, all I could say was, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it. I’ll try not to do that again.”

I was lucky. I didn’t get a ticket. The officer forgave me.

How would you have responded in such a situation? I can’t see another way. Though my husband did laugh when I told him about my promise not to do it again.

Imagine if the world were filled with individuals who willingly apologized and accepted apologies! So many problems could be solved…and with humility. Think of the peace!

But the Bible tells us to do more than that. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Acts 3:19)

Problems arise when people think there is no need to apologize or confess their sins to God. Some feel there is no need to repent—no need to turn toward God with sorrow for what they’ve done. Some believe that when Jesus died for their sins, his grace would free them from all sin. Nothing more required from them.

But think of what could happen if we didn’t feel remorse for the wrongs we had done. If we didn’t surrender to God in repentance with a desire to change. We might feel free to keep doing wrong again and again. That’s not what God had in mind when he offered his forgiveness.

Take ownership of the wrong you have done. Talk to God and ask him to release you from the guilt it brings.