Confess to One Another

Scripture: James 5:16, ‘Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.’


Observations: There are two commands here. Firstly we are to confess our sins to one another. I think this is probably one of the scariest commands in Scripture. It requires that we be completely open and vulnerable with the darkest aspects of ourselves with others. Our human nature is to hide these aspects of ourselves so that others won’t think less of us. But as Christians rather than judging one another we want to remind each other that our sins are forgiven in Christ and that we can know the Spirit’s power over sin and temptation. In the Roman Catholic church they formalized this idea and developed ‘confession’ as one of the functions of the priests. There is great spiritual benefit in confessing our sins to others. Secondly we are to pray for one another so that we may be healed. Because of the context it seems most like that we are to pray that our fellow brother sand sisters will be able to resist temptation and experience victory over sin in their lives. Sin and sickness are obviously linked in a general way and occasionally in specific situations, but James may be thinking also of spiritual healing as well as physical. James point is that when we pray sincerely our prayers are able to have a positive effective in people’s lives.


Application: Do you have someone in your life who you can be completely open and honest with, who you not only confess your sins to, but who will also pray for you? This person could be your spouse, or a mentor, an accountability partner, or just a really close friend. Are you the sort of person someone would trust with their struggles knowing that rather than judging them you would point them to the gospel and encourage them to live for God’s glory? As Christians we are to encourage one another on the deepest spiritual level imaginable. Often our fear of being authentic means we settle for shallow relationships that only ever scratch the surface of who we really are.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You know me better than I know myself. You know every motive and thought and failure in my life. And Lord You want me to confess my sins to others and to be prayed over, so that I can know your healing and the encouragement and support of Your people. Lord, help me overcome my fear of confession and help me become a more authentic and honest person. Lord, help me to also be the sort of person others will trust with their struggles. Help me be the sort of person whose prayers are powerful and effective, that bring healing into the lives of others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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