Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed (James 5:16).
Confession. It’s good for the soul. And according to James it’s good for the body, too. He shows a link between the confessing of our sins and the healing of our sickness. Another form of prayer, confession is admitting our sins to God and to our fellow believers.
It’s been said that our secrets make us sick. James uses an interesting word for sickness. In addition to illness, this particular word can also mean “weary, fatigued, mentally drained, exhausted.” We see that sin not only separates us from God, it’s also exhausting. Confession of our sins is the first step toward healing.
The word confession in the Greek, exomologeo, comes from ek, “out,” and homologeo, “to assent.” It means “to admit or acknowledge,” and conveys the idea of a public admission of one’s faults. Bringing our sins “out” in front of others.
I don’t think it matters whether we confess our shortfalls to one, two, or ten friends. The idea is to acknowledge our failure before God and others. This takes the stinger out of our soul and opens ourselves up to healing. James reminds us that the prayer of faith is powerful enough to heal both our body and our soul.
Do you have someone to whom you can freely confess your sins? I encourage you to pause and think about your relationships. We all need accountability. Without it we can’t grow as God intended and we sure can’t experience freedom from sin. Following Christ was never meant to be a solo journey.
A courageous young friend once took James’ admonition seriously. Eager to grow in her faith walk, she emailed a few of her close friends and family:
I am reflecting on areas of growth and want to understand some of my hang ups. You’ve been an integral part of my life and have seen my good, bad, and ugly. Would you speak into my life about anything you see that hinders the future God has called me to? Thanks for helping me in my journey toward holiness.
Might we also be courageous today to not only confess our known sins to each other but also to seek feedback from those who know and love us? Through confession, let’s take the stinger out of our soul and open the door to God’s provision of freedom, health, and holiness.
Lord, You know my secrets—the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of me that no one else sees. Give me boldness to address the sin in my life head on. Help me understand the freedom that comes with full disclosure. Give me wisdom about which friends can be trusted and who will pray daring and faith-filled prayers on my behalf. Thank You that You desire healing—body, soul, and Spirit. For it’s by Your wounds that I have been made whole.