I 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." Here we are instructed to tell (confess to) God our sins. We initially need to repent from a sin, then confess it to God and ask for forgiveness through Jesus Christ.    I John 2:1, 2, "…if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins…"

Some suggest we simply need to ask in a general way for forgiveness. I disagree. The purpose of repentance and confession is to help us recognize where we have erred and then change our ways. If one simply says, "Forgive me for anything I may have done to hurt you," there is no recognition of how he has specifically sinned. Consequently, he doesn't know how he must correct his actions, words, or thoughts.

On the other hand, we are not to exact confession from those who sin against us. It is in God's province to work in another person's heart. Do not judge your brother, "Who are you to judge the servant of another?" Rom. 14:4. No, the holy scriptures consistently direct us to forgive each other (Matthew 6:12, Mark 11:26) and love each other. I Peter 1:22, "Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart."