Confession Friday

James 5: 15-16  If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

I remember, very clearly, attending my first church that practiced regular confession. Every week, someone would stand in front of the church and speak briefly with words that encouraged repentance. They would continue by saying “please kneel, or lean forward in your pew for a time of confession”. The entire body (150+) would spend a few silent minutes confessing sins. Finally, a church leader would declare, “please rise for the words of assurance”. After which, we all stood together while a scripture passage of forgiveness or redemption was read.

This was my favorite part of the service and changed my life, for a few reasons. For the first time, I deeply grasped that I was not alone in my sin. I understood that we are all a sinful mess. When we stood together for words of assurance, I thought about the beauty of standing together, as an admission that we have all sinned. As individuals and as a community, we come to God for assurance that we are loved, we are forgiven, and Christ has redeemed us. There was no finger-pointing (your sin is worse than mine), and there was no public confession unless an individual chose to do so during a separate time of the service. Confession was a practice, a discipline, for the purpose of seeking forgiveness and healing.

The church that I am currently attending does not actively practice confession in this way, although confession is naturally built-in due to our small size. I realized recently that I was not practicing confession, and therefore am holding a great deal of sin in my heart. I’m thinking that one or two of my thirty readers are in the same place of not confessing sin. I think we need to encourage each other to change this.

In James’ letter above, he charges us to confess to each other and pray for each other, for the purpose of healing. There is great value in confessing our “ugly” to each other. We don’t confess to say “I suck”, “my sin is worse than yours”, “I’m saying this so I can stop feeling guilty”, or even to “get it off my chest so that I can continue living this way”. We confess so that we may be healed. Confession requires a changing of the heart, and an allowance for true forgiveness.

When was the last time you purposefully confessed your ugly sin? First, confess in your heart. Second, confess to your close community. Third, accept healing. Fourth, change your future actions.

Colossians 1: 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


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#Personal #Christianity #Community #forgiveness #ConfessionFriday

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