Confess Your Sins to One Another

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.

5 thoughts on “Confess Your Sins to One Another

  1. This is so much truth in this. I think a lot why we hold back in small groups and confessing with each other is the fear of judgement and the lack of trust like you mentioned. I personally feel like in this age of social media, a lot of pressure is placed on us (of our own accord) to appear like we have it all together. Admitting to others that we struggle, in our minds, comes across as weak. A lot of what you’ve said is true for me, personally. I’m hoping that developing more authentic relationships with my Christian community, and maturing in seminary these next few years will help me get better about opening up to others. Thank you for your post; it was a great read!


    1. Thank you so much! And I think you are SPOT ON in what you said about social media. We seem to more concerned with *looking like* the perfect Christian than actually striving to mirror Christ. I’m not sure this is what’s best for us…side note: good luck in seminary! What are you hoping to do when you finish?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! I really have no idea! I’m just letting God lead me wherever I’m supposed to go. Right now I’m concentrating in youth, family and student ministries, but I may change once I get into the classes or feel a call to something else. I really just love people!


  2. You are spot on. In fact, I do a weekly email for our church (I’m the prayer ministries leader) where I pass on prayer requests people have shared (with their permission), and the text about bearing one another’s burdens is a part of my signature. I also lead a monthly intensive group prayer hour, and in both of those venues (and others), I try to help people take off the masks and be real with one another. There is strength in numbers and something powerful about knowing you are not alone. In fact, I remember years ago reading that the act of confessing even a temptation can be enough to give you the strength to no longer be tempted by it. And I have actually seen it work in my own life.

    Years ago, I was experiencing some intense chemistry with someone who frequented the place where I worked (and he made it very clear that he felt it, too). That was when I originally came across that statement, so I tried it. I confessed it to my best friend and, through that, I realized that, even if I hadn’t been married at the time, it wouldn’t have been a relationship with any future. Suddenly, the temptation was gone.

    It is difficult to be open with our weaknesses because we are often judged harshly for even the littlest things. So how can we feel safe sharing the big things?

    When someone shares a struggle we don’t have to deal with ourselves, it’s all too easy to be critical of their weakness. We need to recognize that judging someone harshly is a sin, too, and proves we are no better than the person we are judging. And, when we realize that, it will be a lot harder to get away with being judgmental. After all, it’s not Christ’s way (and He’s the only one truly worthy of judging), so it shouldn’t be ours either.

    By the way, being tempted isn’t a sin. Jesus was tempted, too, but He remained sinless. If we could trust one another enough to share our temptations before they became sin, imagine how much more victorious we’d all be.

    Liked by 2 people

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