PREPARING FOR CONFESSION.
In the Church of England, at most services and every communion service, there is the opportunity to confess our sins. We confess together that we have sinned against God and against others, and we hear the priest declare that God has forgiven us our sins because of Jesus’ death on the cross.
However, many people find it helpful to occasionally confess their sins to God personally in the presence of a priest, and to hear them declare the forgiveness of God. If you would like to do so, please speak to the chaplain.
If confession is to be of value, then we need to have spent time examining ourselves before we come to confession. Below are some questions we can ask ourselves, based on the great command and the baptismal commission
HEAR, O ISRAEL, THE LORD OUR GOD IS THE ONLY LORD.
- Have I treated the God of the people of the Old and New Testament as the Only Lord?
What are my “other gods”—namely, what things I am more interested in, or in which I put more confidence, than in God? They can be good things as well as bad, such as: family, a cause, wealth, career, status, education, superstition, spiritism, or other forms of magic.
Whose opinion of me really matters to me – does it matter more to me than what God thinks of me?
In what do you put your trust: God’s love, compassion and mercy, or in your own ability to earn forgiveness and salvation?
DO I LOVE GOD WITH ALL MY HEART, SOUL, MIND AND STRENGTH?
- Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
Do I read the bible attentively? Do I put aside time to pray daily? Is my prayer a true heart-to-heart conversation with God, or is it only an empty exterior practice? Have I remembered to offer to God my activities, my joys, and my sorrows? Do I also turn to him confidently for help when I am tempted? Do I regularly meet with my Christian brothers and sisters to worship and learn and participate in communion with them?
- Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
Am I using my money and possessions as God would want me to use them? Do I treat them as belonging to me or belonging to him?
Do I need to repent of lack of generousity in giving to the work of proclaiming the good news and to people in material need?
Have I stolen from somebody or some organisation?
Where am I disobeying God in my sexual practice or attitudes?
Do I seek power and status for myself and use it to abuse, crush or control others rather than build them up?
DO I LOVE MY NEIGHBOUR AS MYSELF?
- Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?
Have I been ashamed of the good news and the fact that I am a Christian?
Have I shared my faith with others?
Have my actions or words shamed the name of Christ?
- Will you seek and serve Christ in all people, loving your neighbour as yourself?
Is there someone, or some group of people, who I look down on or despise?
With whom is my relationship not right?
Have I told any lies recently – lies about other people or about myself?
When have I used words, spoken or written, to pull people down rather than build them up?
Is there someone I am refusing to forgive?
Is there someone who I need to say sorry to?
- Will you acknowledge Christ’s authority over human society, by prayer for the world and its leaders, by defending the weak, and by seeking peace and justice?
Do I pray for the world and its leaders?
Have I submitted in the right way to legitimate authority?
Have I been a good and fair employer or used my power and authority to take advantage of others?
Have I been responsible in doing what I can for the weak and the vulnerable?
Have I been responsible in treating this world as God’s creation?
Have I been a peace maker in the places where he has put me?
A RITE OF CONFESSION
A minister uses these or other suitable words
Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
The first commandment is this:
‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
All Amen. Lord, have mercy.
God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ
to save us from our sins,
to be our advocate in heaven,
and to bring us to eternal life.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith,
firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments
and to live in love and peace with all.
A time to confess what God has brought to your mind
All Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.
The minister says
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.