Surveys and interviews with pastors confirm we are in an unprecedented age of conflict within our churches. Being equipped to peace keep and resolve conflict is now a vital skill for all church leaders. Ken Sande offers help in his book, Resolving Everyday Conflict, he shares the 7 A’s of biblical confession and reconciliation.
Sande contends that too many people never experience the freedom of repentance and forgiveness because they never learned how to make a sincere, believable and biblical confession. Instead, they say things like: “I’m sorry if I hurt you.” “Maybe I was wrong.” “Let’s just forget the past and move on.” These often-worthless statements seldom trigger genuine forgiveness and reconciliation. Sande’s solution is found in his 7 A’s of Biblical Confession and Reconciliation summarized below.
Sande’s 7 A’s of Biblical Confession and Reconciliation
Address everyone involved: Confess to all those whom you affected
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16 NLT
Avoid if, but, and maybe. Do not try to excuse your wrongs. Don’t shift, minimize or excuse your guilt.
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. Proverbs 28:13 NLT
Admit specifically both attitude and actions; don’t be vague:
Forgive me for shedding blood…Psalm 51:14 NLT
Acknowledge the hurt by expressing sincere sorrow for hurting someone:
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; Psalm 51:4 NLT
Accept the consequences and make restitution:
Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Luke 19:8 NLT
Alter your behavior by changing your attitudes and actions:
If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Ephesians 4:28 NLT
Ask for forgiveness and Allow time. Don’t rush it. When you’ve deeply disappointed, hurt or wronged someone else, they may need some time to process their emotions and come to a point of forgiveness.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Confession and asking for forgiveness are difficult for all of us. It is easier to run away, ignore, attack back or place the blame on others. Yet when we swallow our pride and accept full responsibility for our actions and offer heartfelt and sincere apologies others will often accept responsibility for their actions. Reconciliation is important to God and should be to us as well.
Posted on March 15, 2022