5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. 1 John 1:9
Karina and her family visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which spans two southern states in the United States. In a letter to the park’s rangers, she expressed her particular enjoyment of Tom Branch Falls.
She loved it so much, she had taken a rock home with her as a memento. As a young girl, Karina may not have known it was illegal to do so. At some point she realized her error and sent a letter apologizing andincluded the rock so it could be returned to the falls. Karina’s apology—and the gracious response of the rangers—models for us how to turn from our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness. The apostle John encourages us that “if we confess our sins,” God will forgive us (1 John 1:9). The act of acknowledging what we’ve done wrong,to Him and to those we’ve wronged, is the first step back in the right direction. Even though we don’t always want to admit our mistakes, pretending we’re perfect or “without sin” is simply self-deceit (V. 8).
The park rangers responded to Karina with grace, thanking her for returning the rock and recognizing that she was becoming a good steward of the natural resources of the park. By admitting our guilt, we honor the sacrifice made for us by Jesus, who gave His life in payment for it and rose again to give us new life. God faithfully and generously responds with His forgiveness.
What unconfessed wrongdoing exists in your life? How can you seek forgiveness today?
Father God, I admit my many sins and shortcomings to You. I’m sorry for each of them and humbly ask for Your forgiveness. Thank You for Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf.