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Confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation are elements that lead you down the path to happiness (Deuteronomy 33:29). If you want a happy home, you must know how to clean up your messes and practice it daily. During the first five years of our marriage, I never asked my wife to forgive me for any sins I committed against her. Think about it. What I just said is staggering. Let me state the obvious: My view of God, humanity, and the doctrine of sin was dysfunctional. My gospel understanding and practices suffered from a failure to thrive (Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Peter 2:2-3). Yikes! I’m not going to rationalize or provide a weak attempt to minimize the contradiction of my life back then.
But I have observed through counseling many Christians that after I ask them about their forgiveness practices in the home, nearly all of them have said they do not regularly do it. They do not pursue each other in humility, which their lack of reciprocal ownership of sin, mutual confession, and selfless forgiveness affirms. The oddity of this unchristian behavior is stunning when viewed through the lens of our imitate-able gospel (1 Corinthians 11:1). The Lord’s gospel loudly proclaims a not guilty verdict to all regenerated people (John 3:7). Sadly, I could not perceive and apply the benefits of His grace (Psalm 103:1-2) during the early part of our marriage (James 4:6). Perhaps you can do a quick temperature check of your home and closest relationships.
Your answers to my questions will direct you to what you should do next.
The most radical, life-changing, relationship-building question you will ever ask another person is, “Will you forgive me?” That is how our revolutionary, life-changing, relationship-building experience with God began. The process is no different for His image bearers (Genesis 1:27; Ephesians 5:1). A Christian who does not regularly ask for forgiveness is like the son of a millionaire unaware of his daddy’s fortune. Or even worse, he knows of his daddy’s fortune but refuses to benefit from those riches (1 Peter 1:4). Forgiveness is a free and unlimited mercy from the Lord.
Still, it requires humility to access it, whether asking or granting. “Will you forgive me?” is not a complex question, but it is not one of the common questions asked within the Christian community—especially in our homes and local churches. The person not regularly asking for forgiveness is either self-deceived, a pretender, or in denial of the doctrine of sin. A forgiven person—authentically living in the grace of that forgiveness—is ready, willing, and able to ask for forgiveness and grant it—attitudinally or transactionally.
As you think about your life and home in the context of this book, I hope these final thoughts will give you the encouragement you need to begin building a confessional home that takes sin seriously, the gospel practically, your relationships deeper, and God’s fame as your primary motivation.
As a Christian, you and I have the grace-empowered privilege to live daily in a guilt-free environment if we choose to be honest with ourselves, God, and others. After Lucia and I began to see the gospel with more practical clarity, we started to live in the restored sanctification sweet spot that radically changed our home. We replaced the guilt, burden, shame, unresolved conflict, and proverbial pink elephants flying around the room with love, joy, peace, hope, and the mercy Christ offers through His gospel. Do not be like the rich kid who is clueless about or resistant to what his daddy possesses. Step up to your inheritance by asking your family to forgive you whenever you sin against them. Be radical. Step into the enjoyment of your Christian experience with others.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).