“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – James 5:16
From 1980 to 1995, a phone line fielded unique phone calls. The phone line was advertised as “The Apology Line”. These phone calls were calls of confession often partnered with an apology. The callers were asked to remain anonymous as they shared the confessions that were troubling them. These confessions included admissions of lying, stealing, infidelities and physical assaults. There were even a few confessions of murder that were offered. The callers would call the line, leave their confession and apology and return to their lives. Several of the men and women who confessed stressed how relieved they were to share their confession. They felt the burden of guilt and shame lifted from them as they offered their statements of confession. Unfortunately, many of these individuals were repeat callers to the line. They confessed but had no one to hold them accountable or show them a better path for their life. They kept on repeating their sins and crimes.
There’s on old Scottish proverb that says, “open confession is good for the soul”. The Bible agrees with this as well. In James, we are told to “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed”. There is a blessing and healing that occurs when we confess to each other.
I don’t think we are intended to call a phone line and leave an anonymous confession in order to confess. Instead, we need other Christians in our lives who with who we can share our struggles with sin. We need friends who we trust in confidence to help us in our fight with those sins that assail us. We need fellow travelers who will walk the road with us while holding us accountable in our walk with Christ. We need fellow disciples who will love and care for us in spite of our sin, just like our Savior loves and cares for us.
Why is a relationship of confession so important? Why do we need to share our sins with other Christians whom we can trust? It’s because there is healing in confession. There is healing when we get real with our struggles and enlist the support and prayers of other disciples. There’s an old saying that says, “you’re only as sick as the secrets you keep”. Healing occurs when you allow these secrets to be exposed in the light of love, grace and kindness given to you by a friend who loves you and wants to keep you close to Christ. Healing comes as prayers are offered on our behalf and as we, in turn, pray for others who struggling with their sins.
You don’t need a phone line to confess. Seek the accountability and friendship of a fellow disciple who will pray for you as you confess and who you can pray for as they confess. Together, you will experience the healing that occurs as God’s grace and strength surrounds you and you experience the blessing of confession.