When considering a serious inventory of our sin, if we find ourselves saying, “I’m not that bad compared to…” there is a major barrier in our lives that will inhibit our further growth and freedom. Simply put, we won’t receive the remedy if we can’t see that a problem exists. Many times, we fool ourselves into believing that our own efforts and sense of goodness override any sinful acts we have committed. But this is so untrue. We can also use a personal justification system that says, “When I’m better than everyone else around me, I’m not really that bad of a sinner.” This is extraordinarily false because in God’s eyes, sin is sin.
We all have sin issues. We all fall short. It’s a normal part of being human. Furthermore, we can’t do much about it apart from a true transformation of our heart. Acts of morality can be done by anyone. Human beings, by nature, are capable of doing good things. But the only acts that please God are those done through Him, through the life of His spirit residing within.
“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6 NLT).
As innocent and harmless as it might seem, when we live before God with a checklist of the ways we believe we are good, we are living by a sense of our own righteousness. We cannot be forgiven in this condition. Not because God doesn’t love us or is unable to forgive us, but we can only experience God’s forgiveness to the degree we understand our need to be forgiven by Him. If you struggle with the inability to recognize your own sin, you might want to pray this prayer:
Prayer to Remove Self-Righteousness
Father God, I have lived my life believing I was a good person, and that my goodness made me acceptable to You. It’s hard for me to think that I have believed something that actually contradicts and opposes You and the truth of the Bible. I turn from the lies I have believed about my own sense of righteousness and ask that You please break me to the point where I can see myself accurately. I know You love me and want to rescue me from this destructive mindset. Please forgive me and change me. I thank you for what you have done for me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Sometimes we need help applying God’s remedy to our own personal sin issues. An aid in helping us grow in this area is referred to as “Truth Statements.” These statements require us to name our sin for what it is, to acknowledge who we have harmed or adversely affected, and to consider the effects of our sinfulness. Here is a suggested pattern:
- Identify and name aloud the specific sin(s) I committed through my attitude, thoughts, words, or actions.
- Acknowledge who this sin has affected – another human being? God? Myself?
- Consider the harmful effects my sin has had on that person or persons, myself, and my relationship with Jesus.
- Thank Jesus, that He has already felt, suffered, and paid the penalty for this specific sin, making forgiveness possible and available to me.
- Rest in the Bible’s assurance that, if I confess and repent of my sins, God will give me the gift of forgiveness.
Prayer for Forgiveness
Dear Father, I acknowledge that I sinned against You, and that my choices harmed or negatively affected another human being. I was wrong. I take complete responsibility for my choices. I truly am sorry. Please bless the person or people that I harmed. Please forgive me and release me from that debt. Please help me to fully trust that my sin is gone and that I have been fully forgiven. Please show me, in your perfect timing, if I need to make amends with the other person(s), or if I should simply release the situation to You. I thank You that Your grace is sufficient to cover my sin. Thank you for loving me the way You do. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
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