Luther says there are two parts to confession: the act of confessing our sins known and unknown, and forgiveness.
The confession part is easy to understand. However, when we sin, we either feel shame or guilt. There is a difference between shame and guilt. Brene Brown says that when we feel shame we think, “I am a bad person.” When we feel guilt we think, “I have done a bad thing. I need to make amends for it and be forgiven”
The grace of God allows us the opportunity to understand the difference between shame and guilt. Guilt allows us to come before God, confess and receive forgiveness. We are not bad people, but humans who make mistakes and make amends.
Judgment clouds our understanding of forgiveness. Judgment implies that some deserve forgiveness and others don’t. God always gives us a second chance. When we learn to accept forgiveness from God, when we accept God’s unconditional love, grace and mercy, when we learn to love all the parts of ourselves and stop feeling shame, we can stop judging others and love them like God loves them.
God of forgiveness, be with us as we walk through our days, and help us to accept forgiveness and not judge others. Amen. — GB