Close Enough to Confess

March 18
James 5:16

Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another.
Illustration by Gustave Doré

Illustration by Gustave Doré

Tomorrow is Sunday, the day when the church gathers to worship Jesus, be equipped for ministry, and encourages one another. While we need to make Sundays a priority every week, during Lent Sundays are a day of celebration in the midst of repentance and reflection. In the midst of all of this, however, confession is one of the crucial elements of the Christian life we have lost. I think most Christians recognize the importance of regular confession to God, but we fail to heed what James tells us: “confess your sins to one another.”

For those of us who grew up Catholic, confession might have been a normal part of the Christian life. We were encouraged to confess our sins to a priest regularly. For those of us who grew up in the Protestant church, we maybe have had an aversion to confess to another person. We recognize Scripture’s teaching that Christ is our only true mediator. Therefore we do not need to confess our sins to another person for forgiveness. We have forgiveness through Christ alone. While all of this is true, James still says confess your sins to one another. There is power in communal confession. The point is not that we experience some special form of forgiveness in confessing our sin to another person. The point is that when we confess our sins publicly we are often freed from the power of secrecy and given the power of accountability. When we let our private sins out into the public, we no longer feel like we have to carry those sins alone. We also give power to other believers in our life to hold us accountable. Consequently, when we confess our sins to one another, we are more capable of fighting our sin, defeating our sin, and becoming more like Jesus. During this Lent season, let’s not fight sin alone. Let’s come together and confess our sin.

Reflection

  1. Think of two to three people you have in your life you know you could confess your sin to. Who are they?
  2. Do some heart work today. Do you have sins in your life right now that you need to confess to someone? If so, do it today.
  3. At Vintage Church, we believe in Life Groups, gender-based groups of 3–4 who meet regularly for prayer, accountability, and community. If you are not in a Life Group, find 2 or 3 others and form a Life Group