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.
Consistently confessing your sins can help you see the futility of those sins. Sinning against one another is empty and unfulfilling. Everyone, if they are paying attention, will experience this emptiness. The problem is that the experience of the emptiness of sin is most acute after the fact. How can we learn to see the emptiness of sin before the act of sinning? Getting perspective after failure is important; it leads to repentance, confession, and restoration. Getting perspective before failure is ideal; it leads to wisdom and the avoidance of sin altogether. Perspective by itself will not always be enough to keep you from making bad choices. Often people will “see” what is right to do, but still plow ahead into sin anyway. However, perspective over time can and does shape our choices. If we see at the beginning the futility that will come in the end because of some choice we are considering, it can help us avoid that choice. Confession can help with that perspective. Often people will sin against someone and then just wait for time to take away its “edge.” An unkind word, a bad attitude, or a sinful action against someone needs to be dealt with directly, not passively. Do not just “wait it out.” Instead, take action. Go to the person you have sinned against and ask for forgiveness. Use these words: “I was wrong. Would you forgive me?” Be direct. Do this every time you sin. In the first place, it is the right thing to do. In the second place, it will help you make better choices in the future. When you have asked for forgiveness for the same bad attitude or the same foolish choice over and over again, it can help you learn to just skip the sin altogether. If you get “sick” of confessing the same sin over and over, don’t stop confessing. Instead, move that perspective backwards on the timeline. As you are about to make the bad choice, remember where you will end up if you do so. Do the math. Has this bad choice ever really been worth it? What are the chances it will be worth it this time? There are other factors that are important in dealing with and avoiding sin, but consistent and full confession of sin to one another is clearly an important one. Confess your sins to one another and you will be healed.
(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.