“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numb. 32:23)
When you sin against someone, you are to find that person and ask for forgiveness, they do not have to forgive you, that is their decision, but even if they do not, that should not stop you from forgiving yourself.
There are no “additional” punishments once we have fulfilled 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We do not seek for forgiveness from others when we have sinned against them, but we are to ask for it. If you sin in public, then you must confess that sin in public, if in private, then here is one of the very rare times where it is appropriate to say, “That’s between me and God,” but rest assured of this, if you do not confess it, it will indeed find you out.
The Lord is merciful to His children, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 136:1) But we have a part to play in that mercy in this area, if we do not repent, how can we expect to be forgiven. That grandfatherly old man who loves his children so much is what the world envisions God to be like, winking as it were at the disobedience of those whom He has chosen, and this age of “God is love” has exasperated this notion. God punishes sin, all sin, if it is not repented of, no matter who you are, lost or saved, but for the born-again believer who truly confesses and repents, Romans 8:1 stands as truth. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” It is looked at no more, as if it never happened.
The problem is we won’t many times forgive ourselves; we hold a grudge against ourselves, sometimes for a very long period of time.
Jesus Christ took our sins on the cross, all of them, past, present and future, but that does not give us the right to continue in what we know is a sin against Him, His grace in our lives is sufficient, but sin left unattended can indeed have dire consequences. Are you aware that in 1 Peter 3:7 the Scriptures say that a man who is in contention with his wife will not even have his prayers heard?
I will not say how long the Lord offers us to repent, that is up to Him, but I do know that if we willingly sin against Him there will be repercussions, and they will be tailored perfectly for each individual. We are to confess our faults to one another (James 5:16) but we are to go to God directly with our sins, going boldly to that throne of grace in these times is done on our knees, or even with our faces to the ground.
There are times to ask for help and there are times to repent, we ask the Lord to keep us from temptation (Matt. 6:13) we come to Him with a broken heart when we fall into it, we come to Him in praise no matter how our lives are going, but we come to Him asking Him for forgiveness when we sin. My friends, we are to go to God first in everything. “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matt. 5:23-24)
The Lord will not even accept your gift, whether it be money in the plate or attempted praise from your lips until that sin is cast away from you, until you come to Him in repentance, asking forgiveness.
We carry burdens on our backs that should not be there, burdens of past sins long ago forgiven. The memories of them in this life will always be there, it is how we choose to look at them that will decide if we continue to move forward on the path set before us or not. If there is one thing our adversary enjoys seeing it is a born-again believer in bondage to that which he has been forgiven of but will not forgive himself for.