Verse 16a Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
Yesterday we talked about the danger of sin to our physical health. Today we will discuss one way James gives that we can fight this ailment of sin.
Our sins are things we like to keep in secret, aren’t they? We don’t want people to know how bad we really are. Especially those in the Church! But James gives wise advice about that. He saw the wisdom in opening up about our sins with each other.
This does not mean that if there would have been social media outlets in those days that James would have been encouraging the early Church to post their sins in the same way that they posted what they were eating and doing on a various day. James knew that there was a time and place for confessing our sins and that the best place was in the bounds of the Church.
The Church was understood in those days as fellow believers that they fellowshipped with and did regular life with. In our age we tend to think of the building or body of believers in said building as the church. James wasn’t saying that they should get up behind the pulpit and confess their sins. This confessing of sins was done in a more intimate way. It was literally telling those that they were in close spiritual community about the sins they struggled with, partly so that those around them could help hold them accountable and not just deal with the sin but overcome it.
The Church didn’t look at themselves as just a bunch of church members but as one body of believers and so if one person had a sin, it likely didn’t affect only them but also those in their group. If someone outside of the group found out about the sin and started judging about the sin, they wouldn’t have just judged the person sinning but all of their group. We may like to think we are different in this day and age but is that really the truth? We have all heard about how people think the church is full of hypocrites. Why do they think that? Because when they see someone that we claim as one of us living in a way that doesn’t match up with what they hear about Jesus, they figure we are all like that person instead of like the Savior we claim.
If we were to be intentional about confessing our sins to each other we would find we aren’t the only one that is still fighting sin in this life. And if we knew what each other was dealing with, we would be able to help each other grow to be more like what He has called us to be. We would find that we started reflecting Christ more as we grew to care for each other spiritually.
Making It Personal
Have you ever had a Christian friend confess a sin to you so that you could help them? When was the last time you confessed a sin and asked for accountability? What do you need to confess today and to whom are you going to confess it?
Making It Personal Kids
Do you like to tell someone when you have done something bad? Why not? Why would Jesus want you to tell someone else that you have done something that you shouldn’t have?
Father, we know we must confess our sins to You but help us also see the healing balm of confessing our sins to one another in the body of Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.