If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. [1 John 1:8-10 (NLT)]
We confess that we are born in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have failed to do. We have not loved you with our whole heart, and we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. [Lutheran Book of Worship]
“But, I didn’t do anything wrong!” we say in our defense. “Yes, but you didn’t do what was right!” is His response. Many of Jesus’ parables are as much about people not doing what is right as they are about people doing what is wrong. Two men ignored their fellow Jew lying half dead in a ditch, the invited guests didn’t come to the feast, the five bridesmaids didn’t bring enough oil, a servant didn’t invest his master’s money, the Pharisee didn’t humble himself, the son didn’t work in the vineyard, and the forgiven debtor didn’t forgive his fellow servant’s debt. With a little self-examination, our sins of commission are pretty easy for us to spot. Unfortunately, it’s far easier for us to excuse or ignore our sins of omission—the things we didn’t do that we should have done. Nevertheless, they are sins. We have no excuse for not loving Him with our entire being and for not loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Forgive us, Lord, for missed opportunities: opportunities to become involved when we kept to ourselves, opportunities to offer encouragement when we turned away, and opportunities to share our faith when we remained silent. We held onto what should have been shared, closed our eyes to what should have been noticed, and forgot what should have been remembered. Kind words weren’t spoken, forgiveness was withheld, and help wasn’t offered. Have mercy on us, poor sinners all. Open our eyes and ready our hearts to the many opportunities you offer each day to do what is right and to share your boundless love.