“Now we must ask, what happens when someone has been hurt by my sin? The Bible teaches that the moment we have confessed this sin to God, the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is enough to cleanse the moral guilt. As Christians we insist that all sin is ultimately against God. When I hurt the man, I sin against God. But let us never forget that this does not change the fact that because man has been made in the image of God, the man I have hurt has real value. And this must be important to me, not only as a concept but in my practice and demonstration. My fellowman is not unimportant; he is God’s image-bearer. . . . Thus when God says, ‘My child, this sin is different; in this sin you have hurt another person,’ I respond, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the answer is clear from the Word of God: ‘Make it right with the man you have hurt. The man you have hurt is not a zero.’
But what is the usual reaction when God says to me, ‘Go and make it right’? It is to answer, ‘But that would be humiliating.’ Yet surely, if I have been willing to tell God I am sorry when I have sinned, I must be willing to tell this to the man I have hurt. How can I say, ‘I am sorry’ to God, if I am not willing to say ‘I am sorry’ to the man I have hurt, when he is my equal, my fellow creature, my kind? Such a repentance is meaningless hypocrisy. This is why so many of us have deadness in our lives. We cannot just trample human relationships and expect our relationship to God to be lovely, beautiful and open.”
Francis A. Schaeffer, True Spirituality (London, 1971), pages 157-158.
This post was originally published on The Gospel Coalition