A = Adoration – praising God for His attributes and character
C = Confession – of sin
T = Thanksgiving – for what God’s done
S = Supplication – praying for myself and others
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9 NLT
The word confess in 1 John 1:9 is from a compound of two Greek words that mean “to say the same thing” or “agree with”. It means we agree with God and/or say the same thing about our sin that God says.
Sin is always relational; it impacts my relationship with God and/or people. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and people (Matthew 22:34-40). Anything I do to people impacts what I do to Christ (Matthew 25:31-46).
Regardless of your religious background (if you even have one), there is one concept of confession that’s often overlooked. That element of confession is called restitution. Restitution simply means to restore.
In other words, if I sin against you by damaging your property, I need to restore your property to the condition it was in. If this isn’t possible, I need to restore it by securing the same item in new condition for you or give you the money to replace what I destroyed.
If I sin against you by damaging or stealing your reputation, I need to do my part to restore your reputation. First I need to ask your forgiveness. Then I need to go to the people impacted by my lies or gossip and; a) tell the truth about what I did (confess), and b) ask their forgiveness.
One great example of this in the New Testament is Zaccheus in Luke 19. He was so changed by Jesus, he was willing to give back four times as much as he had stolen from people in his past. I’m not suggesting you give back four times as much, but restitution is a key part of genuine forgiveness.