“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 NLT
For a long time, I thought that forgiveness, healing, and true freedom only comes through the confessing of our sins to God. And if I did that, He would help guide me to the freedom and healing that I deeply desired… Now, does God want us to share with Him our hurts, habits, and hang-ups? Yes, Absolutely!
But it’s interesting that James says, in chapter 5, verse 16, that something else is required for us to experience true healing and freedom in our lives... And his answer is - EACH OTHER.
James emphasizes that we need to, not just go to God, but also confess our sins TO and pray FOR one another… Only then will we find true healing and freedom.
Now, the irony in this is that we live in a world that is obsessed with individualism and displaying only our strengths… Think about it... When we are asked to fill out a resume or we take job interviews, we are conditioned to only list, share, and display the best side of us. Even when we are asked things like, “what would you consider is a weakness?” We are trained to say things like, “Oh, I tend to get lose in the little details, because I give a lot of attention to details” Or “I tend to care too much and over work myself!” News flash! These are not us sharing our weaknesses.
And when we find ourselves having to face this challenge in our lives, our world encourages us to deal with it on our own… Which is why we say things like, “You do you… I got this! All I need is me, myself, and I! And if I get stuck, I’ll just pull myself up by my boot straps and do it myself”
But what James reminds us of today, is that we need each other. Not just in praying for one another, but in confession. Because that the bottom line is that there are somethings we will never learn about God apart from one another. And when we are vulnerable and confess our shame, doubt, fears, and pride to each other powerful things can happen. I love how Pope John Paul II said it, when he wrote,
“Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God.”
St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
The truth is, WE CANNOT HEAL WHAT WE CHOOSE TO HIDE. If we want to find healing and freedom in Christ it requires us to be vulnerable with one another, and share deeply in the areas that we are still trying to trust God in… I love how pastor and author, Craig Groeschel, shares that “People are impressed with your strengths, but they are transformed by your vulnerability”
Lord, may we be a people that are not afraid of being vulnerable and sharing our hurts, habits, and hang-ups with one another under the grace that you so richly provide us. May we be able to come in to a place of genuine confession and prayer in Jesus name. Amen!