In-laws - confession / restitution question



I’d like some general informed guidance pls,I’ve prayed about this a lot and am still unsure of what to do.

Basically I re-converted to my faith a few years ago, have confessed everything from my dark days - and I mean everything. The amount of sins I had to confess has led me to a tendency to being scrupulous. But on this particular isue I’m not sure if it’s scruples or if Jesus is guiding me to make amends for something.

Quick history - my relationship with my in-laws used to be strained. I’m actually very shy so we never had any kind of confrontation, but after lots of incidents where I was left upset by their words or actions, I used to be full of bitterness towards them. I couldn’t talk about them to my husband without being nasty, I was so full of resentment I even confided in their daughter, my husband’s sister. We’re talking about a couple of years of very strained relations between us anyway - nothing was ever said directly between us, but they knew that I was upset over things, and I avoided visiting them at all costs because I couldn’t stand them.

Then - God happened and the penny dropped about forgiveness. I realised I needed to let go of the hurt and after my Confession for all the bitterness and nasty things I said behind their backs, I have really made a positive effort to “redress past wrongs”. I visit regularly, go out of my way to be nice to them, I let things go if they say or do something to upset me. Suddenly I’m at peace, and I know they will have seen a marked difference in me since my re-conversion.

Except now I’m starting to wonder if as part of my repentance I should come out and say to them “I’m sorry” for all the bitterness in the past. Is this my scruples getting in the way again, or is this God telling me what I need to do? Is it enough that I’ve confessed to this bitterness and actively repaired the relationship, or is God telling me I need to be totally honest here and tell them I’m sorry? My human instinct is telling me they will think I’ve lost the plot if I come out with anything like this, especially because we never even had “words” - it was all things said behind closed doors. What do posters here think? Does it sound like an attack of scruples or something I need to do? Is this some form of restitution I need to do, or am I doing enough by showing them I’ve changed rather than telling them?


It sounds to me that they must have surely noticed a difference in you by your kind behaviour to them, and that is sufficient.


Yes, it is your scruples.

You've confessed your sins, you've changed your behavior, you've mended the fences.

If you offer an apology and dredge it all back up, I think you will actually hurt the progress you've made especially if much of this was behind their backs or unexpressed emotion. Why dredge this all up and rehash it, and possibly end up saying things they never knew about and getting them upset? There is no need and could harm the overall relationship unnecessarily.

Bury it. It's over and done with. You've moved on and they have too. Let sleeping dogs lie.


You are making "living amends," which is advised when making direct amends will cause hurt, confusion, or harm to the other person. Many times a living amends is more effective than sitting down with someone and re-hashing or bringing up very personal thoughts and actions. Living amends are not easy - sometimes we want to ease our consciences immediately by talking to the person we've harmed, but we have to also consider if we are looking to be forgiven by the other person. Living amends are done without any real discussion, so being forgiven isn't an issue.

You are doing great, just keep up the good behavior and prayer! No personal confessions necessary or advised!


Sometimes it is better to leave the 800lb guerilla known as the past sleeping in the corner rather than kicking it. Just my 2 cents.


[quote="joandarc2008, post:5, topic:221047"]
Sometimes it is better to leave the 800lb guerilla known as the past sleeping in the corner rather than kicking it. Just my 2 cents.



You have received great advice, including this hilarious tidbit! I just want to add this: I admire you. I have a similar strained relationship and am harboring insane amounts of resentment toward my inlaws and my husband's sister. It is something I absolutely need to work on, but it is soooo hard!
Thank you for your post, you've inspired me to work harder at this.
(Also, I know our Lord will whack me over the head with a spiritual two-by-four some day soon, if I don't get busy on this one. :D )


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