1. admit your sin/action was wrong
2. believe that God’s grace is enough to cover your sin
3. confess: say you are sorry specifically of your actions to God
4. If it involves other people ask forgiveness from the people/person you offended
5. Forgive yourself, God has forgiven you
6. Remember that God has “forgotten” the sin, separated it as far as east is from west
7. acknowledge that on your own power sin will overtake you again
8. Ask for the help of the Holy Spirit when temptations come again
True confession involves several elements. The first is the act of confession itself, which recognizes the act as a sin with the acknowledgment of guilt. The second step is the feeling of regret and Repentance on the part of the sinner for having been guilty of the offense. The final element in true confession is the resolve not to repeat the sin. Without the third steps the confession is of no value from a religious viewpoint.
The 6 steps of confession to God.
Examine your conscience by inviting God to identify any specific sin(s).
Periodically use some private worship time to invite God to convict you of anything that needs confession, then spend a few minutes in meditation so he can direct your mind. Don’t settle for generalized guilt, expect God to identify very specific sins. Refuse to get sidetracked into subdividing the blame to other people, keep the focus on your own areas of responsibility.
Look through the eyes of God at the sin long enough to feel sorrow.
Sorrow is abhorrence at committing sin–a deep regret for offending the heart of the holy Father. Think of how you feel when you realize that you have betrayed or embarrassed a spouse or close friend. Since God loves us even more than they do, I’m convinced he feels even more sorrow when we betray or embarass him. Look until you can label the specific sin: “intolerable.”
Determine to avoid that sin in the future.
Sure, we need God’s help to resist temptation. We also need our own resolve. The mindset of being conquered and ruled by God is essential to confession.
Determine what you can do to help restore the relationship.
Talk to your pastor about how you can build a healthy relationship with God, or read Celebration of Disciplines by Richard Foster. If your sin caused damage to another person you will also want to think about how you can restore some of their brokenness.
Articulate or write down your confession, including each of the steps 1-4.
Suppose you are at a local store and hit a parked car, denting their fender. Nobody saw you, so you just drove off. You have sinned against the other car owner and against God. Your confession might sound like this: “Holy Father, I realize that I sinned by ducking responsibility when I damaged the car. I claim to follow you but I failed to take responsibility for bending a bit of metal, while you took responsibility for all my sins even to the point of death. I see how my intolerable behavior embarrasses you. Please forgive me. I promise to take responsibility for such behavior in the future. I will talk with the store owner to see if he can help me find the owner of the car I damaged so that I can take responsibility.”
Let go of the guilt, it’s over, live in the freedom of God’s forgiveness.
Confession includes sorrow, but ends in joy. Scripture teaches “redemptive remembering.” This means we do not sit around remembering our sin, but we remember how God redeemed us from our sin.