Two Christian practices carry awesome, dazzling power to radically transform the life of the practitioner — forgiveness and confession. Without forgiveness and confession, the most prayer-filled, sacrificial life becomes hypocrisy. Although forgiveness is the more powerful, it is also more often preached and encouraged. Confession gets shoved off to the side, ignored as a Catholic-only practice, or viewed as optional, extra-credit.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9)
Sometimes we think of confession as something we give to God. “God I’m sorry about what I did the other day. You know.” This is all well and good. We want to be forgiven and cleansed. But confession to God alone is incomplete.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16)
A good friend of mine did something terrible years before I met her. She could have gone to jail. She found herself between a rock and a hard place, and in desperation she forgot that she was a mother, that she loved her children, that life could change. She lost her hope and broke her own heart. She never wanted me to find out. But I did. She thought that I would never speak to her again. Instead I felt her pain. I took some of that hurt and carried it with her. I hope that I never find myself in that place, and I can’t know that I would have made a better choice. She thought that the truth would ruin her. Instead it set her free.
Now her friend knows her secret darkness and loves her with more compassion than before. She doesn’t have to live in fear that someone will find out. Confession is powerful. Telling another person about the darkness in our hearts opens us up to freedom we never knew existed. That person can share our burden and pray for us with powerful, wonderful results.
What are you afraid to confess today? Be bold and share your dark. You won’t believe the glorious light you receive.
Ellen in her own words: My husband Kyle and I live with our three boys in a low-income neighborhood in Mazatlan, Mexico. God’s love and grace brought us here and holds us close through all of life’s crazy ups and downs. I want follow where the Holy Spirit leads and encourage others to do the same.
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