“Therefore: confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed.” James 5:16
After all that James has written to us we need to look for certain key words. “Therefore” is one of those words. Why? Because when we see the word “Therefore” we need to see what it is there for. Confess my sin? I think that I could be too embarrassed to do that…
I can get all caught up with what I think being a Christian should be like that I can ignore the uncomfortable parts of being a Christian. Things like “transparency” are right up there, top of the list.
Confessing sin to one another is that kind of transparency Jesus is looking for from me. How bad do I want to be a mature disciple, to grow in godliness? The answer in the form of another question: “How ruthless am I prepared to be with myself? What is the scope of my so-called “surrender” am I going to define? Am I going to be “fierce” against my self-protection?
I need to face this: I do not like to appear weak or flawed. I want to stand up straight with my shoulders back and appear successful, wise, and mature to all who see me. Even if I do not care how I appear outwardly I don’t want my inward heart exposed to others. “How are you?” “Fine-peachy-keen,” and I hide the hurts I am carrying. Worse yet: I hide the sin I am carrying.
I think the difference between “hurts” and “sin” has distinctions that I need to acknowledge. “Hurts” and I am a victim-my inner Ricky is out of sorts, my “love-cup” is chipped. I have to engage in reconciliation processes internally and externally.
“Sin”: Oops, now I have to see myself as perpetrator. I “sinned.” I have to own it, be responsible for what I do—and is what James is talking about confessing.
To be clear: These are very real differences and they are present in every believer for as long as we walk this earth. I realize I am going to be hurt. I also realize I am going to sin. Both hurt and sin, from an eternal perspective, has been adequately addressed by the Atonement. But, because the old man is a persistent cuss, we are fighting to put that creature away every day.
The tool that James recommends? Confess our sin to one another-so that effective healing can take place. What does that take? Nothing much-open my mouth in humbleness and transparency. To be effective? Determine to be more and more transparent, to be vulnerable, to be exposed-to open my heart to another person, digging down and being specific about my heart of hearts-to His Glory.
This act is something Jesus treasures. It shows we trust Him with all our hurts, fears, and tears.
Father, I sort of remember when I decided to “go all in” for You. It wasn’t to surrender my time, money, whatever I thought of as being radically Yours. It was when I decided to open my life, my heart, and be ruthless with exposing my sin to other people. I trust You to keep me safe, in Your hand, and to form me into a vessel pleasing to You, eager for good works. AMEN.