Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
– James 5.16

 

If I am sincere, I don’t like to ask for directions. I will ask for directions before I leave, use Google Maps or some other App, but once I am on the road, I don’t like to ask for directions. I know where I am going and I know how I am getting there.

 

However, Google Maps isn’t always accurate, or I will enter the wrong address and end up in the wrong part of town. Maybe it has happened to you. You have found in the midst of going somewhere you have lost your way. It is a common thing to get lost mid-course, and I don’t like to ask for directions. I want to figure it out myself. This tendency often causes me to get further behind my schedule and more confused about where I am heading and how to get there. My very patient wife will put up with my lack of humility and wait for me to ask for help. When I do, she will help bring some clarity or even figure out what went wrong so it can be fixed. I am grateful for her presence in those situations, even if my pride takes a beating.

 

I think this happens for us on a spiritual level as well. We think we know where we are going, have the way mapped out but find that along the way we get a bit lost. Maybe it is a gradual driving in the wrong direction or a wrong turn, but we find we aren’t where we would like to be or even where we thought we would end up.

 

I think that is where this little verse in James comes in. James is ever practical and very concrete in his teaching. He tells us to confess our sins to one another. Why? So that we may be healed. In chapter 5, he is talking about physical infirmities. Many in the early church believed that sickness was due to sin. To get better, we needed to confess. While I do not believe physical infirmity is due to sin (although some sin CAN lead to illness), I believe that confession brings healing. How does that work?

 

  • When we confess our sin, we admit we are lost, have made a wrong turn or have entered the wrong destination. Confession is an admittance of where we are and an acknowledgment it isn’t where we want to be.

 

  • Confession leads to humility. In confession, we acknowledge our frailty and our weakness. We have to come clean that despite our best efforts, we have failed. We recognize our deep need for deliverance and the transforming work of Jesus in our lives.

 

  • Healing comes when we can talk about what isn’t working. To use another analogy, if I have suffered a broken leg, but do not acknowledge it, there is no way for me to get healing because I don’t recognize the problem. Confession acknowledges the problem for what it is and in turn, gives us the opportunity to ask the Healer of our Souls, to touch us and bring us to fullness in Him. This can happen physically, emotionally or spiritually. He is interested in restoring all of who we are to the fullness of His image.

 

God, in His goodness, has provided us with one another. We have the honor and privilege of confessing our sins to each other so that we can be healed. May you enter into all that Christ has for you. If you have noticed you are only a block away from where you want to go or are in the wrong state, we are a simple confession away from getting back on the right track and pointed in the direction He has for us.

 

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