When a topic about righteousness is being tackled, people will usually just quote, "I'm just a human being and I make mistakes." This is the same phrase the English poet Alexander Pope once said, "To err is human; ..." But the second phrase of that same quotation is usually forgotten: "to forgive, divine." This reminds us that forgiveness puts us right with God. But we cannot forgive if no one confesses. When Jesus began His preaching ministry in Matthew 4:17, He said, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Repentance is acknowledging and turning from the wrong things we have done; then comes forgiveness. Sometimes when we weigh a thing it seems right to us (according to human standards), but it is not right in the sight of God. It has something to do with one’s motive. Man looks at the action but God sees the heart (Jer. 17:10). In Prov. 14:12, "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." We cannot hide nor deny anything from God. He is always looking for us, for fellowship, just like in the beginning (Gen. 3:8-9). He longs for us and as we long for Him (Ps.42:1). It is during our fellowshipping with God that we first repent of the sins we have done, whether in our thoughts, words or deeds. The first man Adam (Gen. 3:12-13) failed to confess to God the wrongs he had done. God, Who is righteous, holy, merciful, and slow to become angry (Psalm 103:8) had to do something to put back right the relationship with Him.
When we pray (Matt. 6: 5-14) we are exposing ourselves to the Most High and Holy God. We cannot hide anything from Him, even the smallest sin. In 1 John 1:9, a conditional statement there says: "If we confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just and He will forgive us of all our sins and purify us in all unrighteousness. In short, Jesus revealed to His disciples the procedure of how man can put himself right with God.