"Therefore, confess your sins to one another... that you may be healed" - James 5:16This coming Sunday, I will be preaching the second sermon in our series on healing, simply titled "Obstacles to Healing". One of the obstacles to healing in our lives, I believe is that of true confession. I don't mean the simple "I'm sorry... for now" type of confession, but a true deep-down confession of our faults, to God and to one another. I think many of us enjoy hearing the words of James 5, especially the part where we can experience healing through prayer. However, I think we tend to glance over James 5:16 and the implications of true confession, or lack thereof. For some reason we Protestants have veered away from the act of confession, maybe because it seems "too Catholic", or more probable is that confession is tough stuff!
Being a United Methodist and subscribing to United Methodist beliefs, I share in the belief that there are two sacraments in the church, Holy Communion and Baptism. However, there is something sacramental about confession and its role in our lives today, especially the role of confession in healing. Salvation in and of itself is actually a form of healing, brought about through the means of confession of sin (though this is not the sole factor in salvation, one must be careful not to emphasize the role of ourselves over the grace of God). For some reason, God chose to utilize confession as a vehicle for healing, mainly because of the selflessness of such an act (confession requires us to be very humble, and in the process continually humbles us!)
Confession of sin is therefore a vital component in our road to healing and wholeness. When we confess our sins to God initially (1 John 1:9) and on a daily basis (Matthew 16:24-25), we experience salvific healing. Similarly, when we confess our sins to one another (James 5:16), we are brought closer to other forms of healing through the breaking down of the sin (and pride) barriers, leading to the formation of a healing environment in our lives. From this point, we experience the filling of God's Spirit as we have emptied ourselves to leave room for God and subsequently, God's healing presence.
Let me encourage you to take some time out and offer a prayer of confession to God (just talk with him) and seek out a fellow believer (a pastor, a friend, a colleague) with whom you can share your struggles through corporate confession of sin.
Grace and Peace,