“Confess your trespasses to one another”-James 5:16
Growing up, confession was something I did in a little booth with a obscured screen between myself and the priest. I was then given a list of prayers to pray in order to take of things. The Bible tells us that confession is where our commitment to one another is taken to a whole new level. We can love, accept, serve, encourage, and even pray for one another without breaking a cold sweat. But to confess our sins to one another . . . that’s on a whole different level. And yet, God calls us to do exactly that when the occasion calls for it.
Why? Three reasons:
First, confession requires self-examination. Before we can confess anything, we first need to know we’ve done something wrong. If we don’t see that we’ve sinned, we certainly won’t make the effort to confess sin. Self-examination is the means by which we become aware of our faults and shortcomings.
Second, confession requires humility. A prideful person doesn’t rush to share their faults and shortcomings with other people. Quite the opposite. They make every attempt to hide and conceal them. Only a person with a humble heart will be willing to look someone in the eye and say, “I blew it.”
Third, confession requires faith. All of us worry what people think about us. How much more do we worry when we draw attention to the moral chinks in our armor? “I can’t confess that to them. They’ll never look at me the same way!” Faith pushes us past our apprehensions, because it enables us to trust God with the outcome. We know that He’s pleased when we confess our trespasses, and that’s really all that matters.
God wants His people to confess their sins to one another because He wants our sense of self-examination, our humility, and our faith to increase. It also creates the opportunity for others to extend forgiveness and give us accountability. Add it all up, and we see that confession is the perfect prescription for keeping the Body of Christ healthy and united.