In James 5:16 we are encouraged to "...confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." This is an extremely intimidating prospect, but also potentially life giving. So here's my encouragement to you this week.
Challenge 1: Find a person or a few people with whom you can be truly, fully honest on a more regular basis. That can be a counselor or a minister, but it is often most sustaining when it's a good friend. Therefore, seek to develop or deepen friendships in which authenticity in the good, the bad, and the ugly is a regular part of the relationship. If the word confession hangs you up, then just commit to be completely honest. Be real. Be truthful about your sin, your sorrow, and all manner of struggles. Don't hide. Don't pretend. Don't fake it any more. Commit together to hold one another to a higher standard, and help one another in those efforts.
Challenge 2: Commit to become someone with whom others feel safe to confess.
- When someone shares a sin, don't judge. Don't shame. Acknowledge the plank in your eye before performing speck surgery. Yes, you want them to find healing, but you need it too, so seek healing together. Then follow up. One conversation rarely leads to transformation.
- When someone shares a struggle or sorrow, don't minimize. Don't downplay. Don't try to one up with your issues. Don't try to add a silver lining. Don't go for the quick fix. Affirm. Acknowledge. Mourn with those who mourn. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Then follow up. One conversation rarely leads to transformation.
We live in a broken world and all of us experience it in our lives. Stop hiding. Stop pretending. Start confessing. That's often when the healing begins.