Healing Found in Confession

Text: James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. (NRSV)

Those of us from the Protestant expression of Christianity do not think too highly of confession in the context of another human being.  We talk about Jesus being our High Priest and the priesthood of all believers and use that as an excuse to hide our sins from each other.  But we might also be removing a powerful way in which God offers us healing.

James, however, seems to place a high level of importance on confessing our sins to one another.  There is something powerful about being completely honest and open with another human being whom you can trust.

For me, it is a sharing in the unconditional love of God.  When I am able to confess my sin to another human being and that person prays for me and offers me forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ, it is a healing moment that can only come from the unconditional love offered by God.  It is in the unconditional love given in confession and forgives we find God’s healing. In fact, that is exactly what James writes in this text, “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed”.

I have been in an accountability relationship with another United Methodist Pastor for more than a decade now.  We meet once a week and share how it is with our souls and what the past week has been like for us.  We also hold each other accountable to the goals we have set for ourselves and, when appropriate, we also confess our sins to one another and hold each other up in prayer.  Other than my wife, there is no more important human relationship in my life.

Who do you have that keeps you honest about your living?  To whom can you safely confess your sin and receive the pronouncement of forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ?  If your answer is, “No one”, may I strongly suggest that you develop a relationship with another where that becomes a possibility for you.  There is much healing and much life in such a relationship.

Pray with me:

God of forgiveness and mercy, remind me that you have called us to live into our Christian life in community and not in isolation.  Help me to develop a trust relationship with another that I might receive the healing that comes in an honest confession of our sins to one another and prayer for one another.  AMEN.

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