A well-known attorney in Pennsylvania pled guilty several years ago to corruption charges. All the details of his case were widely covered in the media. I am not going to mention his name or cite the sources online where you can read about his crime. What I want to do is highlight a letter he submitted to the judge just prior to his sentencing:
“Your Honor, I take full responsibility for my actions and inactions. When I [got involved with the other guilty parties] I knew instantly that was wrong. I was both scared and selfish and I will forever regret that decision.
“… I apologize to my family for the hell I have put them through ….
“Second, I apologize to my partners, my employees and my friends. I am truly sorry ….
“Third, my sincere apologies to [my] clients ….
“To the Court, I apologize for the damage I caused …
“Last but not least, I apologize to the people of [our] County and ask for their forgiveness …. I am truly sorry …
“Respectfully submitted, [Name].”(1)
I cited the words used by this attorney for one reason: There is a right way to own our sins, misdeeds and failures — and it begins with saying that we are responsible and asking for forgiveness.
Others & our sin
There is a general rule that counselors use regarding the acknowledgement of sin: It needs to be confessed and forgiveness sought as far as the circle of damage extends. If one person sins against another, that’s a small circle of damage. But if a person commits sin at a public level, then confession and forgiveness must be sought as far as the sin was felt.
Of course, it goes without saying that every sin by an individual is first a sin against God. That’s why King David, in his Psalm of confession for the sins of murder, deceit and adultery, said to God, “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:4).
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SOURCE: Baptist Press