The Forgiveness Cycle

Forgiveness Cycle Sermon Illustration

Dissonance is a musical term that indicates a lack of harmony. Cognitive dissonance is having disharmony in our thoughts. It happens when our idea or understanding of who we are is being challenged by a contradictory element. You believe you are a nice person, but then you do something obviously not nice. You believe you are an honest person, but then you tell a whopper to your boss. You believe you are a patient person, but you raged at a loved one. You believe you see all people equally, but then you say something that shows racial prejudice and hurts your brother or sister in Christ. These things cause confusion in your brain. Confession means we are accepting that what we think we know about ourselves isn’t actually true. This is part of living in the here but not yet of God’s redemptive kingdom. We are in Christ; everything about us is complete in Jesus, in God’s eyes. However, we still live in a fallen world where we are being conformed to the image of Christ. We are not sinless in our earthly reality. This means that being in relationship with Christ will include a continual cycle of forgiveness. We mess up, we confess and ask for forgiveness, we are forgiven and press on in obedience. As we build the patterns of discipline and obedience in our lives, there will hopefully be fewer stumbles into sin, but there will never be a time when we will have it all figured out. There will never be a time when we no longer need to practice confession in this life. We can learn to embrace our mistakes by recognizing the ways we try to suppress the guilt and embarrassment. We can learn to take responsibility instead of justifying or rationalizing our behaviors.