Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16
Over the years, I can’t help but notice that we’ve created this list of church-approved sins. Those sins, and those sins only, are the ones we will openly confess. Sure, we’ll tell our Bible study group that we were gossiping at the water cooler. And yes, we’ll admit that we only prayed for 20 minutes on Monday morning, not the full half-hour. And maybe, we’ll open up about our children testing our patience. But…that’s it.
Think about it. When was the last time you went to small group or Bible study and someone really opened up? When was the last time someone confided in you about their struggles? We tend to just keep everything to ourselves and never say a word.
I want you to pay close attention to James 5:16. Notice that the Bible says, “confess your sins to one another.” It does NOT say, “confess the sins you are comfortable talking about.” No. It just says, “confess your sins,” whatever they may be.
I just want to give you a quick example. In 2016 Pornhub got 23 BILLION visits. Let that number sink in. 23 BILLION. I am willing to bet that some of those 23 Billion are Christians. Actually, I know some of those users are Christians. People look at porn. It’s a huge issue. But we don’t talk about it. It’s destroying marriages and creating unhealthy views of sex. But we don’t talk about it. Porn is directly connected to sex-trafficking. But we don’t talk about it. We just sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist.
A few months ago I wrote a blog called ‘Slaying the Digital Mistress’, where in which I was completely open about my own struggles with porn. I was so nervous when I hit that publish button. I knew my mom would read the post. She did, for the record…and applauded me for it. (PHEW!) I knew that it’s taboo for women to talk about porn. It’s not very lady-like, right? I thought our readers would crucify me over that post. They didn’t, though. I will tell you what DID happen…
There were a handful of readers who messaged me privately to tell me how glad they were that there was a Christian woman who opened up about her struggles with porn. I had Christian women tell me that they’ve struggled with porn too; they just don’t talk about it. One reader actually said, and I quote, “It takes guts to write something like that.” Why should it take “guts” do be honest with our brothers and sisters in Christ?
After that, I created a private discussion group for Christians in Motion so people can talk about what’s going on in their life. (Side note: if you’d like added into the group, come find us on Facebook and send me a message. I’ll get you added in.) At our small group, I actually created a confidentiality agreement with our attendees. What is said at small group, stays in small group.
We should be able to confess our sins to one another. But we just don’t. The reality is that we, as believers, are strongest when we stand shoulder to shoulder. By simply confessing the sins in your life, I believe it alleviates a burden. You’re no longer carrying this by yourself. And if we believe in prayer, if someone is praying for us, we believe that prayer is powerful and effective.
One final note: I understand for many of you, you probably just don’t trust a lot of Christians. You wouldn’t be comfortable confiding in them for fear that they’ll tell someone, judge you, etc. Maybe you’ve been hurt by the church in the past. This is just one problem I see within the church today. We don’t trust each other. We should change that. We should aim to get back to “doing church” the way has Scripture has instructed us, right?
If you aren’t a part of a small group or Bible study, I would encourage you to get into one. Perhaps start to form some relationships with the folks at your church. It’s time for us to be honest with one another and bear each other’s burdens. Truly, it is time for us to start standing shoulder to shoulder.