Don’t mind my cheesy Usher reference, but it just felt appropriate and I cracked myself up when I came up with it sooo there ya go. I had another post prepared and ready to go, but God has bigger plans sometimes. For the past month or so, I’ve been reading the book of James and I have been really hung up on this verse in James, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 (NIV).
So I read James 5:16 and thought ok, God wants me to confess my sins, but he doesn’t really mean I need to confess all my sins to someone else. I mean, if I have to tell someone all the gross stuff I’ve done in life, they aren’t going to like me anymore. God must just mean I need to confess the easy to handle stuff…the I gossiped today, I’ve had a bad attitude, etc. So here I am reading James and that verse and I hear a sermon from Perry Noble (I listen to sermons while I get ready in the morning. I know, lame) and he addressed this verse and get this…Perry Noble, the pastor of a mega church, admitted to his congregation that it wasn’t until he confessed his pornography addiction to a fellow Christian brother did he start to experience healing from that sin. I’m sure my mouth dropped. I was like dang Perry… I cannot believe you were just that real with not just one person, but thousands of people.
Disclaimer: I should go ahead and just say, I don’t think confession to others is necessary to receive forgiveness from God. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NIV). So I don’t think its absolute for repentance or forgiveness, but I do think confession to others brings about healing.
Ok, so I can’t believe I even really typed that because it scares me. I don’t know about anyone else, but its scary to think about telling someone (or gasp, the horror, multiple people) about my sin I keep hidden in a dark corner underneath my bed. Well, I told you’ve I’ve been struggling with confessing my sin to others and wouldn’t you know it, in life groups this week we talked about….wait for it (if you watch How I Met Your Mother, I’m doing this in my Barney Stinson voice)….confession and vulnerability with people.
See, it’s relatively easy for me to tell y’all that I was in a valley, I was sad over a breakup, diabetes is hard, etc…because those aren’t too terrible of things to handle. I can tell you all that stuff and you’ll still probably think I’m a pretty good person. It’s the stuff like, sometimes I think God forgot about me and I question His goodness, or I really feel like I hate that person, or I’m consistently lying to someone I love…that stuff might make you quit reading my blog. If I’m really real, you all might not really like me. You might think I’m fake or unauthentic. If you see the real me, you might not like it.
Ok, so what’s a girl who wants to be vulnerable do? Does she pen some eloquent lyrics like Mr. Usher Raymond spelling out my confessions? If you’ve ever heard me sing, the answer to that is NO. Well, wouldn’t you know I had the opportunity to put this into practice yesterday? I confessed my sin to another because I needed that person’s forgiveness. The Bible addresses going and getting right with your brother/sister (Matthew 5:23-24). Wouldn’t you know I read that verse right as I was deciding I didn’t need to confess and ask for forgiveness from this person….God sometimes has to smack me over the head. And it was so, so, so hard to ask for this person’s forgiveness…not only because I hate being wrong in general, but especially in this particular relationship (I like to pretend I’m always the good, sweet, angelic one). It made me nauseous. I thought of every excuse not to call them. I seriously thought I was going to be sick waiting to talk to them, but after I talked to them…I felt this incredible relief and burden lifted. God had already forgiven me for my sin against that person, but by confessing and asking for forgiveness from that person…I started the healing process and God promised me that healing in James 5:16.
I’ve been thinking about how applicable this is to life, not just for Christians but also for everyone. There is great freedom and peace that comes from confession to others. For example, I made a huge mistake at work a few weeks ago. Like, I laid down in child’s pose in my office (and if you know me, you know I hate yoga so I was seriously on the ledge) with my door shut. I knew I had to tell my boss what I had done, but I was nervous. I did not want to admit I was wrong…I failed at something. As soon as I talked to my boss, I felt a tremendous amount of relief (of course, it doesn’t hurt that my boss is so gracious, kind and forgiving) but it was the simple act of saying what I done out loud that brought gave me relief and comfort.
I think this verse in Psalms is so on point in what happens when we keep our sin all to ourselves, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” Psalm 32:3 (NIV).