In this article you will find instructions on how to ask Jesus (i.e. God) for forgiveness and to give up your sins. The most important thing, as with many things about Jesus, is this: It is not so much the deeds that count. What matters is the inner attitude towards the deed and towards Jesus.
Before we go into the individual steps, a brief preface: asking Jesus for forgiveness is always a gesture of submission before God, trusting that He will forgive you. Therefore, it is important to understand the right relationship between you and God. That is why we will first dive into the background. Once you understand this, the following steps will become easier.
Table of Contents
Preconditions for the forgiveness of sins by Jesus.
At this point, one could have a big, theological discussion about what exactly should have happened in the person and how the Holy Spirit worked on it and how much the person must have really understood.
But let’s keep it practical for once: The very fact that you are reading this article is proof that Jesus is working in you. Therefore, let’s keep it short: Jesus’ death enabled you to communicate directly with God and allows God to forgive your evil deed (experts say sin).
You should trust in this. Ideally, you have promised to follow Jesus (see life surrender prayer), but I think for the beginning pure trust in God (i.e. Jesus) is enough.
Step 1: Fully admit your guilt
In the first step, you must come before Jesus (by praying) and admit your guilt completely, without excuses, and stand for it. The words “completely” and “without excuses” are crucial.
You alone have committed the guilt. It does not matter whether someone else instigated you or not. It doesn’t matter if you thought the sin was somehow justified after all. And yes: this sounds easier than it really is (at least the first few times).
The following are bad examples:
- I lied so I wouldn’t get in trouble.
- Yes, I stole, but others are no better.
- I was just unfriendly, because the other one was also unfriendly!
Rather, orient yourself to an attitude like this one:
- I lied and didn’t trust you to support me.
- I have stolen.
- I have disregarded your commandment of charity.
Do you notice the difference? The important thing is: without excuses and without shifting the blame to others, acknowledge the sin and confess it. Of course, everyone else sins, but you are the one with a bad conscience and the connection with Jesus.
Step 2: Seriously admit that you are truly sorry.
Just because you say something doesn’t mean you really have to believe it. Sure, you can tell Jesus what you did wrong – but it’s important to understand that it really was a mistake.
You’ve certainly said “I’m sorry” at some point in your life without really being sorry. For many children, this is when they are forced by their parents. That’s when the words said something that the heart didn’t understand.
In forgiveness, please be aware that you have not just made some mistake, but a sin – you have rebelled against God. The Creator of everything! And you have broken His commandments.
A good indication that you are seriously sorry is when your heart hurts when you think about it. If your thoughts are still “he deserves it”, you should go to prayer with God. May He please explain and/or show you how to come to the right inner attitude.
Jesus sees your efforts and will help you. Just trust him.
Step 3: Ask Jesus for forgiveness in prayer
Jesus already knows what you feel, maybe he even helped you to get to the place where you are now. At the latest in this step it is time to open your mouth and ask God for mercy.
There is no special formula for this. No special words need to be used. Pray as you speak and speak what you feel. Let it out and apologize to God.
If you do this, Jesus will forgive you.
Prayer Forgiveness of Sins (for evangelical Christians)
Below you will find a suggested prayer if you follow Christianity in the evangelical direction. Use this prayer as a formulation guide and not as a specific formula. If you want to omit or add something, do so.
God, I have sinned. I have broken your commandments and have done wrong to my fellow man. I am ashamed of this and ask for forgiveness from you. Please forgive me, in Jesus’ name, for my sin. I trust that you will take away my guilt and make me a better Christian. Thank you for hearing me.
Tip: You can also draw inspiration from the Lord’s Prayer. There are also lines there that ask for forgiveness.
Step 4: Accepting God’s forgiveness through Jesus
Many Christians have the problem of truly accepting God’s forgiveness. They feel bad and cannot believe that God has really forgiven them.
If this feeling persists, review the previous steps and, if in doubt, ask Jesus to forgive you again. Alternatively, it may be the “afterpains” that the Holy Spirit gives you. Have a look at the chapter “Aftermath” and follow your thoughts.
Jesus has already forgiven you. But you will have to bear the consequences on earth – but if you really repent, He will help you.
Maybe it’s because you can’t believe it’s that easy. But God’s grace is good. Why don’t you read the following scriptures that are about grace and forgiveness: Romans 6:23, John 3:16, and 1 John 2:2.
Step 5: Aftermath
God has forgiven you. But now you should set out to commit this act/sin no more. How this looks in detail, is different for everyone.
In the case of sins that a person considers to be minor and there are no major after-effects among people, that is usually it. But sometimes you get a thought, a feeling or a picture of what is next.
If you get the feeling to apologize to someone – do it! The Holy Spirit is using it to give you clues on how to improve. It is advisable as a disciple of Jesus to follow this advice. How God answers can be very different.
This will not only clear your conscience, but you will also be a positive example among people – and thus a good advertisement for God.