Written and Media by Mary Todd Christian
Sin isn’t pretty. So, how can confession be beautiful?
For many of us, the thought of being vulnerable, or sharing our deepest, darkest struggles with close friends is absolutely terrifying. There is always the fear of judgment, shaming, and, at times, rejection. It’s almost easier not to say anything at all, especially if we know we can confess our sins to God as James tells us. So, why should we have to confess to one another? It’s not like our friends can “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Here are a few reasons why.
We Are Called to Confess
Just as scripture calls us to confess to God, it also calls us to confess to one another. James 5:16 states: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” When we take the time to speak with a trusted individual about a specific sin or struggle, we are obeying the Word of God.
Confession Humbles Us
Not allowing ourselves to confess to one another can be dangerous because pride can begin to fester in our hearts. We can become convinced that God’s got it covered so no one else needs to know our struggle. It’s just our little secret between God and us. This is an easy way to become prideful. Yes, God forgives our sins, but when we are not willing to humble ourselves and reveal personal brokenness to each other, we can still be subjected to living a lie.
It Provides Healing
Carrying around a personal struggle or sin is tiring. We constantly feel like we are hiding something. There is sometimes a feeling as if there is a lack of authenticity. When we are given the chance to speak the confession out loud to another, it is messy, but it is liberating. No longer are you holding onto a secret, but it is out in the open and now there is room for healing.
Once we humble ourselves, we are able to take the steps towards actually changing our mindset and our previous ways. Once someone you trust is aware of a past sin or struggle, there is an accountability there which was not before. Our friends can now walk through the trial with us and help carry the burden.
While confessing to another is not absolutely necessary, there is a form of healing that takes place when we take the time to share our heart and struggles with another. Confessing our sins to God absolutely comes out of true repentance, but there is something to be said about letting go of our past self when we confess to one another. The confession, while already authentic, sometimes feels like it holds more weight when we confess to our friends. For those who are still leery of being vulnerable with another, we need to ask ourselves what is holding us back. Is it pride or fear of judgement? Maybe it’s time to lay those fears and obstacles aside and truly experience the mess, difficulty, and beauty.