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. James 5:16

Some people think of confession and would rather have their toe nails pulled out with no pain killers or have surgery with a dull butter knife! The very word ‘confession’ conjures up visions of sitting in a dark room talking to a voice behind the wall or having all your secret thoughts, feelings and actions put up on the big screen for everyone to see. Following the confession you are led out and stoned by those around you.

The picture most of us have of confession is painful at best and terrifying at it’s worst. One of the reasons confession is hard is because confession is often seen as an attack on who we are as a person. If I have hatred in my heart I’m a bad person. If I have thoughts of lust I’m a bad person. If I get angry or struggle with an addiction or am hopelessly in debt I’m bad. I’m a failure and I’ll never amount to anything

Sad to say, the church (note the small ‘c’) has had a part in the negative press confession gets. Confession is really just agreeing with God (and other close friends) that we have faults, failures and struggles in our lives. Confession is not a statement of our worthiness. As Christ-followers our self-worth is wrapped up on the arms of Jesus. We will still struggle with sin. We will still fail. We will still make poor, even stupid decisions. We only need to take a look at some of the greatest Bible heroes like David, Paul, Peter, Abraham, Moses and a whole list of others who have made terrible mistakes either unintentionally or through rebellion.

James tells us that in order to be healthy spiritually, emotionally and even physically we need to live a lifestyle of confession. Prayer, confession and repentance are the three actions that lead to the forgiveness of sins committed by church members.

Earlier I referred to the church with a small ‘c’. The true Church, the body of Christ, operates in a way that makes confession personal and effective. It’s not a liturgical event, nor does it even need to be public. It should be an act of cleansing that says “I know I’m okay. I’m a child of God. But I have issues. I’ve failed and I need to make things right with God and others that I’ve hurt.’

Confession isn’t a trial. It’s to be done with close brothers and sisters in Christ. It doesn’t need to be in front of a pastor or priest or congregation. It’s an agreement with you and someone you trust to open yourself to the healing power of prayer. Some have even experienced physical healing by living a life of confession.

PRAYER: Father God. I thank you for Jesus and His love, forgiveness and understanding. I confess to you that the faults of my past and the mistakes I’ve made haunt me like ghosts. I’ve been abused by those in your church that claim to be helping but have ended up being judgmental and making my life miserable. I claim the freedom I have in you. Show me the areas of my life that need healing. Empower me to find trusted friends who will openly and honestly accept me with all my faults and pray with and for me. Amen.