If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
World War II ended on August 14, 1945, when Japan officially surrendered to the Allies.
That means 70 years have gone by since hostilities ceased. For the last seven decades the prime minister of Japan has made a speech remembering that event. In every one of those speeches there has been a very specific apology for Japan's actions.
Every year, that is, except for this year.
This year Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo expressed "deepest remorse" for what his nation had done in that global conflict. He also offered condolences to those who had died and suffered all manner of other loss. But he didn't say, "I'm sorry." He told his listeners that those sentiments will be forever "engraved in our hearts," but he didn't' say, "I'm sorry."
Now the Japanese prime minister has received considerable criticism for his omission. As for me and my house, after hearing what he said, we agree with him. Explaining his actions, the prime minister, the first to be born after the war, stated, "We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come -- who have nothing to do with that war -- be predestined to apologize."
I think the Lord would agree.
In support of that statement I offer the words of St. John. The beloved apostle told us we can't pretend we have no sin. On the contrary, we ought to confess our sins to the Lord. If we do, the Lord who sent His Son to offer His life as the payment necessary to forgive and save sinful humanity will forgive and cleanse us.
John says nothing about God's people confessing the same sin again and again and again. There is no need to do that -- unless we commit the same sin again and again and again.
Now I don't know about you, but I find myself repeating past sins and coming up with new ones. Oh, it's not that I don't try to change and be better. I do. It's just that I am, in spite of my saved condition, "a poor, miserable sinner."
Thankfully, my shortcomings and sins are more than balanced out by the Savior's sacrifice.
Indeed, we all ought to be thankful the Lord wasn't just speaking to St. Paul when He said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9a). It's the Lord's way of saying, "Confess your sins. I've got them covered."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I repent of all I have done, said, and thought, which is an insult to You and a hurt to my fellow man. Accept my thanks for Your gracious and comprehensive forgiveness. In Jesus I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries