I need help with words to ask God and my church and my parents for forgiveness of fornication. I know I have sinned I allowed myself to get caught up and I need to ask for forgiveness. I want to write it because I can't stop crying, and I want those who looked up to me to know how sorry I am. Can you help me articulate a letter that I may read to the body?


I'm glad you realized your sin and turned from it. The only requirement for a Christian is confess your sins to God. "If we say that 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. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 1:8-2:1).

There is no requirement to confess before others, though that option is available. "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). The reason for some others being told (notice that this doesn't advocate wholesale broadcast of sins to everyone) is to enlist the aid of others in praying to God and to have help in dealing with the temptations and the consequences of sin.

There is no reason to tell the whole congregation and there might be reasons that it will cause more harm than good. About the only time I would suggest a broad confession is when knowledge of what you did cannot be hidden, such as a pregnancy. Then letting people know that you sinned and repented will cut down on the gossip that usually happens. Otherwise, I take James' point seriously. "Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20). The idea behind covering sin is not hiding a sinner in his sin, but to bury the past sins of a repentant sinner. The best way to do that is keeping the number of people who know about the sin to a minimum.

What I don't want you to do is getting wrapped up in your past sins. You sinned, but you repented. Focus on the future -- how to keep from repeating your mistakes and how to build a righteous live that pleases God.