Confession, Repentance and Forgiveness

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4. Confession, Repentance and Forgiveness

Have you had a time you’ve needed to forgive? Share your story with your Growth Coach. Ask your Growth Coach about a time they needed to forgive and what happened.


Confession is agreeing with God. Sometimes we agree with God that we’ve done something we shouldn’t or didn’t do something we should have. It’s saying He’s right and we’re going to change. 

The fact we change is what’s called “Repentance”. There are two words for repentance in the Bible. The first one is Greek and it means “to change your mind”. The other one is Hebrew and it means “to turn around and go in the complete opposite direction”. Understand repentance requires we make both of those choices. Our minds are changed when we can confess our sin and repent. We turn around when we stop doing what we shouldn’t and/or start doing what we should. 

James 5:16 says “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (NLT) 

Confessing our sins to one another is not about securing God’s forgiveness of our sin. John tells “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”  (1 John 1:9) So why then do we confess our sins to one another? 

James tells us: so that you may be healed. When we confess our sins to one another and repent, we are restored by the one we confess to. 

Is there something you need to confess to your Growth Coach? They are trustworthy people who will keep everything they can in confidence. If you need help making things right, they will help in anyway they can. 

If nothing jumps to you mind, there’s no need to go searching for it. Holy Spirit is the one who convicts us and He’ll do it when it’s needed.

Confession and repentance are wonderful tools for us as we learn to love others more and more. Another tool that we need in our arsenal is Forgiveness. 

Jesus told His disciples in a parable that we need to forgive each other with our hearts (Matthew 18:15-35). We need to unpack what that means. 

To ancient Hebrews, our heart is the seat of our intellect, the seat of our will and the seat of our emotions. It covers covers all three and is the place we make sense of the world. 

1. We need to forgive with our intellect. 

Forgiveness is a choice. This an act of our intellect. If we don’t choose to forgive, we’ll never feel like we’ve forgiven. 

Sometimes we don’t forgive because we think the offender won’t pay if we forgive. What it actually means is we pay if we don’t forgive (Matthew 6:14-15; Luke 6:37)

Sometimes we want to wait until the person changes before we forgive. But we’re told to forgive as Christ forgave us (Colossians 3:13) and He did that while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

Sometimes we don’t can’t forgive because we think it means we automatically need to put ourself back in danger. It doesn’t. The root of Greek word used in the Bible for “forgive” means “to cut off, sever, release, send away.” Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.

2. We need to forgive with our will (actions). 

We need to bless those who curse us. This is an act of our will. We can bless in word or in deed. We need to obey what God commands. 

Sometimes with these two parts of the heart in agreement, Holy Spirit can do an amazing work in us so that we actually feel like we’ve forgiven them. It’s amazing what happens when all three parts of our heart come into alignment. We can truly live in the freedom forgiveness brings. 

3. We need to forgive with our emotions. 

If you don’t feel like you’ve forgiven someone whose offended you, there is a problem. Our feelings show us the truth about what we really believe. We always feel what we believe. Our emotions are wonderful servants, but they will overrule the other two parts of heart.

When the truth doesn’t feel true, it’s because we believe something contrary to the truth, not because the truth isn’t true. 

When we don’t feel like we’ve forgiven an offender we can’t ignore our our feelings.  Our intellectual belief and choice to bless will only take us so far. We need Holy Spirit’s persuasion or we will not be able to forgive from the heart.  

We need to feel like we’ve forgiven someone who’s offended us. We can’t ignore or push aside these feelings. Let them show you what Holy Spirit needs to heal. We all need well healed wounds. 

Now the good news God wants to help us heal those wounds we have. We have beliefs attached to those wounds that cause us to feel what we feel. 

Emotions are our friends, pointing us in the direction we need to take in order to identify what we really believe. Memory helps us answer the question: How did I come to believe what I currently believe which is causing me to feel what I feel? Once the lie we’re believing has been identified we can offer it to the Lord for His perspective. This is when Holy Spirit can persuade our hearts of the truth. When this occurs, forgiveness from the heart will naturally follow.  Forgiveness becomes an expected outcome of being persuaded of God’s truth in our heart.


You can get more training for this at


Do you have something you need to confess? Trust it to your Growth Coach. Is there someone you need to forgive? Do what you need to so can forgive them from your heart. 

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