I wonder how our lives would change if we really lived out James 5:16. This familiar verse says, "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." In an earlier post I made the comment that it's often easier to confess our sins to God than to another brother or sister in Christ. The obvious reason is that we don't want others to see the true picture of who we are as sinners because it humiliates us. And so we present to others a false picture of who we are hoping that they will accept us. The problem is that they aren't accepting us, they're accepting the false picture of us. So we may end up going through life without truly being known by anyone. And this robs us from experiencing both true acceptance and more importantly true holiness. Indeed, in our pursuit of acceptance we must not forget our pursuit of holiness. Amazingly, James 5:16 brings these two pursuits together through an unlikely channel--confession of sin.
The verse says, "confess your sins to one another." It doesn't say, "confess your sins to God." Obviously we must confess our sins to God but we must go a step further to experience spiritual healing. We must confess our sins to one another. Granted, this is hard to do. Yet if we remember that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus we will be ready to reveal the true picture of who we are to others and accept others as Christ has first accepted us.
Confessing sins to one another and praying for one another doesn't mean that we go around telling everyone all of our deepest, darkest sins. It does mean that we have someone in our lives that we can be honest with and have mutual accountability. This practice should be a normal part of the Christian life. Sadly, it's not.
I wonder how our life would change if we were more willing to live out James 5:16. Perhaps we would see a breakthrough to true acceptance and true holiness as God heals us and make us more like Him. Shouldn't every Christian want that? Shouldn't every church want that? Then what must be done to make it happen?