Do I have to wait, or can I ask for forgiveness right away?
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1 John 2:1 "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous". First and foremost, The Lord Jesus Christ alone is our advocate/defense attorney and great high priest. Hebrews 3:1 " Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus" I believe sin should be confessed as soon as the Spirit of God brings it to your attention. The human conscience (which is subjective) will kick in soon thereafter either excusing or justifying the thought or action. Unconfessed sin only calluses or hardens the heart which is already deceitful and wicked Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:10 "I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings". Hebrews 3:13 "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
Well, let me start by saying, I agree with JD's answer in that we should confess "as soon as possible" and with a true feeling of contrition and humility that is totally without self righteousness, etc. Jesus taught us by example how to be in an attitude to be as one with Him to deeply ask forgiveness. Many, many times, JESUS himself, went off to be alone in either a secluded place or simply just alone while praying to the Father' --and-- the bible tells us "to go to our secret place to pray and make supplication and pleas unto the Lord for forgiveness of our sins and to make the desires and concerns made known unto the Lord, for He is our God" and "will hear from Heaven" and all our request(s) made with contrite and earnest heartfelt intentions; because, He loves us more than we ever know or comprehend! Jesus hears our request and promises us he will plead our case "unto the Father" and "desires to meet all our needs and requests that are in right standing (according to His will) unto the Lord." --Andy--
One does not pray silently for forgiveness, instead he should confess his sins in order to receive forgiveness. In the Catholic tradition, the penitent confesses his sins to a priest. The underlying principle is this - the confession of sin must be heard. The priest then decides if it is truly a sin (or not) and if forgiveness can be proclaimed (or not) based on contrition shown by the penitent. This authority came from Christ himself when he said "If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:23)
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