Week 21: “Confess Your Sins to One Another”
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Matthew 5:23 Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
It is not surprising that Christians can get at odds with one another, but what is surprising is how often they work through their differences and are able to have restored relationship. Sinning against each other is not necessary, but it is likely. Therefore, making peace with confessing your sins to others is always going to be an important part of your spiritual journey. If you are going to live in close relationships with others, and you should, you will need to confess your failures when they happen. Confession of failure can be challenging for several reasons. It may be that you do not feel you are completely at fault. Perhaps you believe the blame for the problems between you and someone else is shared equally between you. It could be that you believe they are more at fault than you are. An important guiding principle is to learn to take total responsibility for your own sin. Even if you believe you are only 10 percent of the problem, then take 100 percent responsibility for your 10 percent. Leave their 90 percent to them and to God. Another issue that can make confession difficult is insecurity. You may feel it will make you more vulnerable or make you look weak if you admit to having failed. Think of a time when someone confessed their failure or sin to you or, perhaps, you saw a person admit they were wrong to someone else. How did you feel about that person? Did your respect for them decrease or increase? Confession of sin, on the whole, increases respect because it shows maturity to be able to be wrong. Confessing your sins to each other is like healing medicine applied to a wound. Because of our sinful nature we are going to wound one other, but since Christ is in us we can apply the healing power of confession to those wounds. Confess your sins to one another. It may feel like it is going to be such a difficult and painful experience until you actually do it. Then, afterwards, you will realize that avoiding or dreading confession is worse than actually doing the confessing.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.