If I were to ask you to tell of your sins, how would you respond? I would assume you would balk at the question and do everything in your power either to change the subject or physically leave my presence.
Confession is a lost art in Christianity today, and its absence is keeping us in bondage.
When we have sin that isn’t confessed, it eats away at us. It keeps us from truly finding healthy intimacy in marriage and even friendship relationships. And it keeps us from finding healing from that sin since we aren’t willing to ask for help.
Confession brings freedom.
I know the excuses. I know you’re scared to let someone know the things that are ugly about you for fear they might use that knowledge to abuse you. You’ve experienced it before. Hurt people hurt people, and you don’t feel you can trust someone enough to confess your sins to them.
These are valid. Trust is easily broken and much harder to build.
However, if a sin you’re struggling with becomes public knowledge, it may hurt at first, but there is freedom from having to hide it once it is revealed. Then you’re free to work on that issue without restraint or secrecy.
We treat confession like it is optional. We confess when we feel like it to whom we feel like it, and sometimes (often times) we don’t confess at all. The scriptures are pretty clear about confession.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
Confession is essential to the growing godliness of the believer. Through confession we invite the accountability needed to actually stop sinning. It is possible to stop that sin you’re struggling with.
Confession is given first to God – not because he doesn’t know, but because you need to admit your problem.
Confession is given next to your brother or sister in Christ. If you’re married, start with your spouse. Beyond that, confession is better done with someone of the same gender. The purpose for this type of confession is to invite them into your struggle to pray with you, check on you, and walk with you as you grow beyond this temptation.
People in recovery programs understand the need for this kind of healing process. We shouldn’t think that because our sin doesn’t involve alcohol or drugs we don’t need the same process to overcome our sins.
If you’re struggling to confess, start small…confess the little things. Then you will see how they react and help. If you’re looking for someone to confess to, look to your minister and his wife or your elders and their wives. They would be honored to join with you in this journey of healing.
Remember, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Therefore, my sin stinks just like yours, so I have no right to look down on your struggle when I have my own. If we all understood and behaved according to this fact, we would be much more eager to confess to one another.
May you find healing through confession, and by this, may the church become strong in unity and love.