1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Enjoying the promises in this passage of Scripture begins with understanding confession. “Confess” (homologeo) can mean to agree with. It also means to confess publicly the wrong we have committed. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament; Vines Amplified Expository Dictionary of the New Testament; Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains; The Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament; Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)
If you have sinned against your children, spouse, church or anyone, then you must confess to the wrong and ask for forgiveness from them and God. If it is against the leadership of the church and you have taken it publicly to others in the Body of Christ, then a public confession is a necessity. If you have sinned against leadership in the work place and made it public, then it needs to be set right before man and God. This does not include unknowing sins or unintentional offensive. Before 1 John 1:9 is verse eight, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” We can be in bondage in some way and convince ourselves that we are innocent.
Walter B. Night wrote in “You Wicked Wretch” about a governor’s visit to a large penitentiary: “It was his secret plan to pardon a prisoner who met a certain condition, known only to himself. He mingled with a great number of prisoners, all claiming to be victims of injustice, all claiming to have been wrongly treated and were innocent of their crimes. Finally, one inmate said, ‘I have no reason to complain. I am guilty of my crime, wicked and desperate.’
The governor took this man to the warden, identified himself to the prisoner and said, ‘It is a pity that you should be here among so many innocent, honest men! According to your own confession, you are bad enough to corrupt them all! You shall not stay with them one day longer!’ The governor pardoned him and ordered preparations to be made for his release.”
Your pardon from God comes through confession.