What should be our attitude in going to them?

Bible Answer

James 5:16 (NKJV) "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."

Inspired Answer

"If there have been difficulties, . . . if envy, malice, bitterness, evil surmisings, have existed, confess these sins, not in a general way, but go to your brethren and sisters personally. Be definite. If you have committed one wrong and they twenty, confess that one as though you were the chief offender. Take them by the hand, let your heart soften under the influence of the Spirit of God, and say, "Will you forgive me? I have not felt right toward you. I want to make right every wrong, that naught may stand registered against me in the books of heaven. I must have a clean record." Who, think you, would withstand such a movement as this?"—Mrs. E. G. White {OHC 370.3}

"Why life with many is such a hard struggle is because it is apart from Christ; through self-delusion the battle is waged blindly with circumstances. With many youth wrong feelings have been shown, and unchristian words have been spoken. At such times they should humble themselves, saying frankly, “I have done wrong. Will you forgive me? For God has said we must not let the sun go down upon our wrath.” This is the only safe path toward overcoming. Many look at things on their darkest side; they magnify their supposed grievances, nurse their wrath, and are filled with revengeful, hateful feelings, when in truth they had no real cause for these feelings. Shall we cut ourselves loose from the rest of humanity, remaining solitary and alone, because everything in our association with others does not move smoothly? No, indeed; the change must take place in your own soul. Resist these wrong feelings, and you will experience a great change in your association with your fellowmen. Your good will, your unselfish acts, will not be to a favored few, but to all with whom you associate. Thus you will form friends and attachments that are dear and lasting; your own deeds will be reflected back on yourself." {YI November 10, 1886, par. 3}

"O that men, instead of dwelling upon the faults and errors of their brethren, had talked with God concerning their own dangers and defects of character, leaving their fellow-workers with the Lord Jesus! O that those who had grievances had gone directly to those whom they supposed had wronged them, and said, “My brother, will you forgive me? I have had unchristian feelings toward you, because I thought that you were trying to hurt my influence. I know that God is working to make hearts one. If I have grieved you in any way, will you forgive me? Christ has forgiven my mistakes, and I will forgive everything that I have thought was an injury to me. Let us be one. Let us, right here and in unity, offer up our petitions to the Heavenly Father.” {SpTB02 27.2} Had each one felt that he had done more to be forgiven by the Lord than he could express, a wonderful change would have come into the meeting." {SpTB02 27.3}

Additional Thoughts

First, we should go with much humility, not only acknowledging acts but feelings too.

When going to the other person we must secondly also be careful to only take ownership for what we have done. There is often the tendency on the part of the perceived offending parties to avoid accepting responsibility for what went on. We do them a disservice in taking ownership of their mistakes.

Third, be specific.

Four, don't minimize mistakes. Express where you have been wrong in a very sincere way.

This kind of heartfelt confession will be used by God to bring healing to all parties concerned.—Dan