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James 5:16, “…confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (NASB)

Recently, I was at a spiritual retreat at which everyone was invited to confess their faults to a pastor as a step in “dying” to ourselves and making more room for God in our lives.

Have you ever done this? I’m not going to lie…it’s not easy. In fact, it’s very difficult. It can be painful and embarrassing admitting the truth about what you’ve done or what you didn’t do but should’ve. This kind of confession is sooooo good for us, though. It’s freeing to admit the truth about yourself and find that the other person doesn’t judge you but instead loves you and reminds you of God’s love and forgiveness toward you.

Why does James 5 say to confess your sins to another person? After all, isn’t it enough to confess our sins to God?

When we confess our sins to a spiritually mature, trusted Christian:
  1. We’re speaking the truth out loud. Those faults are no longer in the darkness and they begin to lose their power.
  2. We realize it’s okay to be real about ourselves. We begin to understand God’s love and grace a little better through the love and grace of the person to whom we confess.
  3. Others know better how to pray for us. I don’t know about you, but I need all the prayer I can get! And as James 5:16 says, a righteous person’s prayers can accomplish a lot!
  4. We may encourage others to also be real about themselves and participate in confession.

Confession is challenging because it’s hard to be real about the ugly sin inside ourselves. However, if we want to be healed and restored, and experience a life of freedom in Christ, confession is essential.

So, what are you waiting for? Find a trusted Christian – pastor, mentor, or friend – to whom you can confess your faults. Make confession a regular part of your life. You’ll be glad you did.

In His Love,



Anonymous Anonymous said...

What should you do if there isn't a trusted strong Christian that you know? Or, the one I do know I think is getting tired of listening to me confess, etc....
What should I do????

Anonymous Kristen said...


Thank you for your questions!

I may not have been clear in this post. Confession to God IS enough. When we can confess to a trusted Christian, however, that brings an additional benefit for the reasons listed in the post. Like Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend" (NLT). It is in sharing the depths of ourselves with someone that we're brought to another level of growth in our lives, the kind of growth that does not typically happen when we are isolated from others. However, that does not mean that healing and growth cannot take place if you don't confess to someone besides God. After all, Scripture reminds us that Jesus is our friend (John 15:13-15, Luke 5:20, etc.), and He wants us to share everything with Him (Psalm 32:5; Matthew 11:28-30). When we have no one else, we realize that He is all we really need anyway.

If you don't have a trusted Christian you can share with, you can journal. Write everything down that you've done and then get rid of your list – shred it and throw it away to remind yourself God has forgiven you and as a way of letting those things go. Shredding your list is also good so it doesn't get in the wrong hands. If you feel a need to confess your faults out loud, confess them out loud to God. If you need "someone" to confess them to, why not tell them to your favorite stuffed animal? Okay, so maybe that's a little far-fetched, but hey…I would!

Maybe there is someone to whom you have been confessing, but you worry that he or she is getting tired of listening. If so, ask yourself a few questions: 1. "Am I confessing too much?" Is there such a thing as confessing too much? Perhaps not, but maybe just maybe you're being too hard on yourself. 2. "Am I leaning more on this person than on God?" God wants us to share our burdens with another person, but He doesn’t want that person to take His place.

Also, if you're concerned you may be burdening that person, you might ask the person if you are, if you feel God leading you to ask. Another idea is to ask someone older to listen to your confession, someone who could act as a mentor to you. If you are connected at a local church, you could ask your pastor and/or pastor's wife if they know of someone you could connect with.

If you don't yet have a strong, trustworthy Christian in your life with whom you can share, ask God to bring someone. In the meantime, confession to God is enough. God is faithful and will provide for every need we have.

I hope this helps! If you have more questions, contact me at Kristen@proverbs31.org.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks SOOOO much! That totally cleared it all up! Thanks again...

Anonymous Kristen said...

You're very welcome! I'm glad to help. :o)


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