Scripture makes it abundantly clear that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Finding our place in relationship to God begins with recognizing our sinfulness and confessing our sins to Him.
Spend some time today thinking of ways you have fallen short of what God requires of us. Try to think of at least five sins. Write each one down on a small piece of paper and put them in a cup or in your backpack or in your pocket. Then, at intervals throughout the day, pull one out and confess your sin before the Lord. You can then throw away that piece of paper as a symbol of Christ's forgiveness.
If you have a hard time thinking of particular sins, you can confess general ones, such as failing to love those around you as Christ loves them, but also ask Him to show you where you have fallen short (“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24). Praying through Psalm 51 can help, too.
When you are finished, make an entry in your Facebook Note about it. We would never ask you to confess your specific sins before your entire Facebook community (if you need to confess and ask forgiveness of someone you have sinned against, we recommend you do so in person), but comment instead on your experience and what your time of confession meant for you and your faith walk.
Recently, I had a very deep discussion with my Bible study group over this very topic. We were studying a book that brought up the idea that you could sin without ever knowing it. That idea, and the ramifications of unwilling sin, was the most chilling, depressing topic we ever covered. It was something I wasn't willing to admit was even possible ... mostly because of what I feel it means for my relationship with Christ.
He came to earth, lived a perfect, sinless life, and then paid the price for my sin because I couldn't do the same. So, to me, every act of sin I commit - willfully or not - is added to His tab, added to the pain and suffering He must endure for my sake. It's one thing to look at what I know myself to be compared to God's holiness and feel unworthy. It's another thing entirely to consider the possibility that my sin might be even uglier because I am sinning in ways I haven't realized yet.
But the stubbornness I demonstrated during that conversation - debate, actually - shows yet another form of sin. A sin of omission.
I'm studying a book now that places sins of commission in juxtaposition with sins of omission. Sins of action and sins of inaction. It's easy to look at a list of rules that start with "Thou shalt not" and understand what a sin of action would look like. But failing to follow Christ's other commandments - love one another - is just as grave a sin. It's also a sin we're guilty of not because we've done something, but because we haven't done something.
When I was arguing with my Bible study group, I was refusing to recognize the fact that I don't know everything. As hard as I try to be a "good" person, there are times where I fail horribly. I don't always love my neighbors, my co-workers, or my friends. And by failing to love them, I'm committing a sin of omission without necessarily realizing it.
My saving grace is remembering that I will be forgiven. Not just for the wrongs I've done, but for the rights I haven't done. Knowing that Christ bears the burden of both is no easier to live with, but knowing that He is willing to do so out of His love for me is one of the most uplifting truths I've ever come to accept in my life.
The most powerful line of Psalm 51 speaks directly to my guilty conscience:
8Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
My prayer in every day is that God will deliver me from the guilt I feel over Christ's suffering on my behalf so that I won't raise it up as a wall to hide behind. My place is to be doing His work in the world, spreading His message and sharing His love with all people. Not doing that with all that I am is the largest sin I'm guilty of, and one I recommit to repenting of.