April 11, 2014.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
The book of James has so much to offer. I have been going through it as a bible study with a couple of my friends, and I’ve realized that James packs a lot of concepts in just a few short pages. James is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He isn’t afraid to speak the truth no matter what we may think about the truth. I have to think that if James walked into one of our churches today in America, we would kick him out so fast that many wouldn’t even notice he had come. But a lot can be gained from his words.
The verse above puts forth a concept that I have had a problem with for much of my life. Confession. I don’t like admitting to being wrong. I don’t like owning up to sin. But that is what we are called to do. We will all sin, so it’s not like we are able to look down on each other too much. But sometimes we still do. And that’s one thing that makes confession hard.
Notice, however, what James says about confession here. He doesn’t say “confess your sins to one another so that you may be forgiven.” Ultimately, when we sin, we sin against God, and only he can forgive us of our sin. But he says “so that you may be healed.” This is interesting.
If I have learned a few things in the past year, this is one of them. I’ve always hated the notion of “accountability partners,” but that is mostly because I knew if I had one, one, I would have to admit to sin, and two, it would actually make me strive harder not to sin. This may sound awful, but let’s be honest. When sin is fun, sometimes we don’t really try to hard to avoid it. “Oops, I did it again. Oh well…” But when you know you have someone to answer to (besides God, of course), it gives us that extra incentive not to let them down.
I have also learned how confession truly does heal us. I am convinced that one of the reasons we find it so hard to forgive ourselves is because God’s forgiveness seems intangible. I believe that’s why he have us this mode of confession. When you confess your sins, you can have a tangible sense of a burden being lifted. This is a great feeling. Plus, you have someone there who is going to help you stay out of that sin and on the narrow way. Confession plays a vital role in our walk of faith.
As I said, James packs a lot in his book, but it is good to sift through his ideas and gleam truth. I will let you do that with the suggested reading as confession is just a small part of his book. I am off to start our retreat “Christian Carnivores: Getting off the milk and onto the meat.” Pray for us.
Suggested Daily Reading: James 1-5.
Be strong in The Lord.