Confession and Forgiveness 


S (Scripture): 1 John 1:8 If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.

O (Observation): John writes about the fact that part of being a believer is to recognize our shortcomings.  We sin.  Plain and simple.  We are to walk in the light, but we cannot let that walk blind us to the fact that we still have this flesh that hangs around our neck.  

A (Application): Our walk is one of sainthood and peccator-hood. (Peccator = Sinner, in Latin) 

These words from 1 John 1 are extremely familiar to Lutherans.  These were the standard words spoken between the worship leader and the congregation during the portion of worship we call “Confession & Forgiveness.”

As I was growing up, acknowledging our sinfulness and receiving absolution of those sins as God’s people together was extremely formative for me.  We opened every worship service with the recognition from 1 John, that we are sinners and cannot free ourselves.  Then, typically the pastor would acknowledge our repentance in a corporate way and declare God’s forgiveness of our sins as a corporate act.  

One body.  Repentant.  Forgiven.  An act that has shaped me for almost 4 decades now.   I hope that never goes away. 

Have you ever had someone declare you forgiven of all your sins?   Did that feel true to you?  Did it feel like empty words?  Why?

For a film that deals with the real-life struggles with confession and forgiveness, check out the movie Get Low, starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, and Sissy Spacek.   A friend of mine, Scott Seeke, co-wrote the screenplay, and wrote the follow-up book, Uncle Bush’s Live Funeral.

Click here to join me and Advent Lutheran Church for the book club event with author Scott Seeke, as we discuss “Uncle Bush’s Live Funeral” on Dec. 14, 2015.  

P (Prayer):  Forgiving God, keep our hearts pure and repentant.  Give us a posture of humility. Amen. 

One thought on “Confession and Forgiveness 

  1. Pr. Michael: Hope this finds you and the family well and rested this Christmas season. My brother has recently completed his journey through seminary over the last several years and will be commissioned as an AIM at his home church in the greater Milwaukee synod in mid January. He has accepted a call to another church in that synod as Director of Spiritual Faith (not certain of the title) in mid Feb.

    I shared with him how I used your Digging Deeper as part of our congregations Lenten journey last year called “Walk to Jerusalem” and he is going to look at some of the examples and the format I used last and he may use it with his new congregation.

    Thanks for continuing to share this spiritual “food” with me. I also sent it to another pastor friend of mine in Wenatchee, WA as they may also use this format during Lent.

    BTW, Ginny has a 1 year interim contract with a small rural congregation in WA about an hour and 15 minutes from the house and is really enjoying serving this small dedicated band of Lutheran Christians in the middle of several orchards and vineyards on the east bank of the Columbia River.


    Mike and Ginny Krekling

    Liked by 1 person

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