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Friday, May 29, 2009

More Confession

I have blogged before about confession. James 5:16 tells us to, "Confess your sins to one another and be healed." I've come to understand that as one of the key mandates from this God of conditions that we serve.

We confess our sins to God and He forgives them. But if we want His healing, well that requires something more - it requires that we confess them to one another.

I have to say that over the years this has seemed like maybe the best kept secrets of the Bible. It certainly seems to be one of the best kept secrets of Christianity!

We have self-professed Christians who go around pretending to each other that they don't sin. And yet, God asks us to do exactly the opposite. Go figure.

Proverbs 28:13 tells us that, "People who conceal their sins do not prosper ..." What do you think of that? It would seem that prosper and healing are two entirely differently things. I can find healing from my sin patterns. Or I can be prosperous.

Could it be possible for someone to be prosperous without healing? How about having healing without being prosperous? No, these two things sound like they are entirely different. But I suspect we are not to be deceived. While they may seem different, they are more closely linked than we think.

It is hard to learn from a mistake that you don't acknowledge. How exactly does one learn from mistakes (besides acknowledging them)? I think he (or she) would admit it, confess it to God, confess it to another, analyze it and then make adjustments to prevent it from happening again.

It would be those latter three things that require assistance from another human being. Of course I need someone to confess to.

But can I properly analyze my sin on my own? I doubt it. The Bible tells us clearly to "lean not on your own understanding." That would seem to be sage advice when analyzing one's own sin. No, I will need the wisdom of another to assist me.

And what about that making of adjustments? Resisting temptation. Eliminating temptation patterns in my life. How about evaluating my continued sin? Can I do that by myself? Probably not. It seems I would need the assistance of another to do that as well.

King Solomon wrote his wisdom about prosperity being tied to my confession in the Old Testament. James wrote his wisdom about healing being tied to my confession in the New Testament. (Do you think these guys collaborated bit on this?) There is a common theme here.

The older I get, the more I understand the wisdom, the precious value of confession. To be clear, confession can be intimidating. We want to be able to confess to someone that would be trustworthy. I need to confess to someone who won't hurt me, shame me or otherwise wound me. (After all, I'm already guilty!)

But James was writing to the saints when he said to "confess to one another." So we don't just confess to anyone. We confess to someone who is at least as spiritually mature as we are. That would be someone who sees us as Christ see us. It will be someone with the love of Jesus in them. It will be one who can model God's grace with us.

Romans 8:1 tells us that, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." There is no condemnation from those who are in Christ Jesus either! So if I'm confessing to the right person, I will feel better. He will feel better. God will be in the middle of that conversation. His healing will result from that conversation.

Doesn't this just make you want to go out and get a "black belt in confession!"

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