From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: Why does the Bible instruct believers to examine ourselves, and is this something that we should do publicly or in private? – R.L.
A: Scripture tells us to be reconciled to God (Matthew 5:23–24) and the joy of salvation will be restored. The Bible says to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5). God will show us where we are wrong and what is blocking the joy we should experience as Christians.
It may be malice, spite, jealousy, or hatred; we may carry a grudge against someone and have unforgiving attitudes. Perhaps we are too easily offended or may be puffed up with pride. Dishonesty, gossiping, criticism, worry, lustful thoughts, unbelief, prayerlessness, neglect of God’s Word—any of these things can prevent the joy of salvation from swelling up in our souls, hindering the Holy Spirit taking possession of our lives. Many of them could be hidden from view of men, but never from God.
When we confess these things by name this is the first step to victory. We shouldn’t say, “Lord, forgive my sins.” Let’s define them because God already knows. We must ask Him to give us the power and the strength to overcome. We must take Him at His word. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
There are certain sins that have been committed against God alone. This requires private confession. No one except God needs to know anything about them. It is a family matter, just between you and Him. There are other sins that have been committed against another person. Such transgression should be confessed not only to God but also to the one who has been wronged. There will never be peace until the confession has been made and forgiveness sought.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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