Confession is Good for the Soul

Sam Petitfils

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."  James 5:17

Four preachers met for a friendly gathering.  During the conversation, one preacher said, "Our people come to us and pour out their hearts, confess certain sins and needs.  Let's do the same.  Confession is good for the soul."  In due time, all agreed.  One confessed that he liked to go to movies and would sneak off when away from his church.  The second confessed to liking to smoke cigars and the third one confessed to liking to play cards.  When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn't confess.  The others pressed him saying, "Come now, we confessed ours.  What is your secret or vice?"  Finally he answered, "It is gossiping and I can hardly wait to get out of here."

A funny joke, to be sure, but it brings up a valid point:  We should confess our sins.  Of course, we need to confess our sins to God (I John 1:9).  As Jesus gave us the model prayer, He encouraged us to ask God to forgive us our debts (or sins, Matthew 6:12).  The tax collector asked God for mercy, confessing he was a sinner (Luke 18:13).  Finally, King David confessed his sins, and even penned two Psalms of confession, Psalm 32 and 51.

Sometimes we need to confess to others.  I've known Christians who never confess anything and rarely admit wrong.  This is quite strange when we consider our fallen nature.  But some have a difficult time admitting faults, perhaps because it strikes at their pride.  Yet sometimes we need to humble ourselves and go to a person we've offended and make it right.  When we fail to do that, division sets in and relationships flounder.

In the verse above, James implies that failure to confess sin will not end well.  In fact, he indicates that some people can even experience physical problems as a result of sin, sometimes Paul also mentions it (I Corinthians 11:30).  David lamented that he didn't confess his sin earlier (Psalm 32:305).

If you have offended someone, go to that person and admit your wrong.  It might be awkward, but it will restore a broken relationship.  Christians are not immune to pride and should confess their sins to God daily, and, if necessary, to someone they've offended.

You're heard of deathbed confessions.  They actually happen, and I have heard a few of them in my time.  Let's not wait until our last moments to confess, a loving forgiving God stands ready to cleanse and heal us today.

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