by Teresa Yanaros, November 30, 2020
Step 1: Take a pause.
Stop. Breathe. Many times things fall apart when we are moving too fast to hear God's voice, and we start making mistakes. In order to make this right, you need to get still. Chances are, your significant other is hurting right now too and they also need some space to process.
Whatever the nature of the sin--whether prideful words exchanged in an argument, selfishness, or infidelity--once you become aware that you've sinned against your significant other, it's imperative that you take a moment to process what's going on.
After you've sinned, turning to the Lord is imperative to harness this opportunity for growth and transformation. Take it seriously.
After you've sinned, turning to the Lord is imperative to harness this opportunity for growth and transformation.
Step 2: Reflect upon the facts.
Get out a sheet of paper and write down what happened. This takes the situation out of the emotional centers of the brain and forces you to piece together a logical and linear narrative from what went down.
You can include the history of the event and any other things that are pertinent to this particular sin. You might realize there has been a pattern of behavior on either your end or their end that you've ignored, causing negativity and resentment, and leading to even worse sin. You might realize that you have been projecting something onto your significant other that you really need to take responsibility for and work through yourself. Whatever insights come up, take note of these things too.
Either way, this is the time to get out all of the facts of the situation. Don't worry if it doesn't seem to make sense and you are still feeling angry and confused. God will help you understand what's going on once you approach him with a humble heart and open mind. At this point, just take account of each detail of what happened.
Step 3: Pray for clarity about the nature of your sin.
At first, you might still be clinging to the sins your significant other has committed against you, and using this as a means to minimize your sin against them. As you are praying, talking, and listening back and forth with God, you might feel like you are wrestling inside your mind. That's okay. You are now in the processing phase.
Try to be as open-hearted and open-minded as possible so that you can receive answers from God about the nature of your sin. Ask God to remove the blind spots from your heart so that you can see deep into the nature of the issue with clarity.
Be open to deeper levels of understanding as you accept details that are rising to the surface. Many times when we are in a state of sin, we can't see clearly into what we are doing until we stop, assess, and ask God to help us. At this point, you might have to write some more things down.
During your prayer session, pray for a breakthrough. In this moment of breakthrough, you will realize that your sin against your significant other stems deeper down into the core of your soul. You realize that you've sinned against God. You will realize the nature of how you sinned against God. Whatever the nature of the sin is, you realize that you aren't walking as closely with God as you need to. You realize that you've reached the end of yourself, and you need the supernatural power of healing from the Lord in order to reconcile your soul to God.
Step 4: Spend time in the Word.
Pray for God to reveal himself to you through his holy Word. This process of praying for clarity and spending time in the Word might take a while. It might take days, or even weeks or years. It really depends on the nature of the sin, your willingness to hear God, and His divine providence in how you are to work through this issue.
God is not a vending machine and we do not pray to God because we want him to give us things. We pray to God because he is perfect and sovereign and we praise him for who he is and how he has eternally saved us through his Son, Jesus. He is our Father and we love him, and he wants us to be set apart for him, to be reconciled to him through Christ, to live with him for all eternity at the appointed time.
While approaching the Word in this phase of your life, understand that God absolutely has a plan for you. He uses everything according to his purpose. It's your job to trust and have faith that his plan is at work and will not ever be stopped. Every trial you undergo is used to instill something inside you that God wants you to have.
For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.
Read the Bible with openness and pay attention to topics and themes that come up over and over. This is God showing you where you need to focus. Take note of epiphanies that come to you during this process of prayer and reading the Word.
Step 5: Pray to God for forgiveness.
At this point, you are probably pretty aware of the nature of your sin and you are ready to be free of it. Humble your heart and tell God exactly what you did that was wrong. Lay it all out and take full responsibility.
With a humble heart, lift up your sin to God. Ask him to forgive you. Ask him to cleanse you in the blood of Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice given up for your sin and the sins of the whole world.
Step 6: Pray to be reconciled to God.
Repent of your sin and ask that God change you so that you can walk forward in a completely new way. In your heart, you must truly want to change and be free of this sin in order to allow Christ to work inside your heart.
When we stop and spend time with God, he shows us what he wants to change in us. And then it's up to us to deeply desire and crave God to change us in whatever way he wants.
This is God, calling to you, yearning to have an even deeper relationship with you. You can't pour out love to anyone else in this world if you aren't tethered to the wellspring of true love, Christ. During our process of sanctification, we are constantly being changed from one degree of glory to another, to be imparted even closer to Christ, to walk even closer in step with him at all times.
Step 7: Pray for wisdom and understanding.
Pray that God will give you the wisdom and understanding needed to move into the next phase of your life. Now that you are forgiven by God, you are moving into a new liminal space. Now you have to learn new ways that will take the place of the old sinful way that didn't work for you.
Only God can give you this new way. This is the Holy Spirit that works in you. After praying for wisdom and understanding, you'll likely walk away with some clear steps on how to implement certain strategies into your life that will prevent the previous sin from happening again. Take this seriously.
God is in the process of sanctifying you and installing godly traits inside you that are important to be in a godly relationship. Ask humbly for God to continue to purify you and compel you to live a life of righteousness through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Step 8: Pray for transformation.
Pray to be radically transformed by the Holy Spirit. In Christ, you are a new creation. The old has passed away and you've been given a new heart.
Pray from the bottom of your heart that your heart will be made like Christ's, and boldly pray that you want God to change you to be like him. Tell him how much he means to you, and lift up his holy name and all his wondrous works.
Pray for your significant other. Ask that God will pour out his Holy Spirit on them, to call them into an even deeper relationship with Christ. If you want to reconcile, pray for reconciliation.
Listen to God and fully submit, knowing that he always has your best interests at heart.
Step 9: Take the next step.
At this point, it's time to act on whatever the Lord told you to do. If it's time to seek reconciliation with your significant other, be gentle and kind. Make sure to come clean about what you've done and give a full apology. Ask them for forgiveness and do what needs to be done to fix the situation. If you are able to reconcile with your partner, walk closely with the Lord as he teaches you how to walk in tandem with him. Create new habits of righteousness and spend as much time as you can in prayer.
If reconciliation is not an option, it's time to step forward and act upon the new path that God has set before you. Always trust in his plan and remember that you are in the process of sanctification. When you repent of your sin, think of all the wonderful things you have in store ahead of you. You are learning to walk as the new being that you are in Christ.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
- 2 Corinthians 5:18