Growing up I can remember some friends talking about going to confession at their church. The thought of sharing my sin with a priest almost made me sick; I was grateful that was not something I had to do in my church.
You see it was bad enough that I knew what I did wrong, I didn't want anyone else to find out. For quite awhile I was pretty good at playing the "I'm fine" game and I think I thought, If nobody else has to know about my struggles then maybe I can deny their existence as well.
Time went by and I realized faith was not just religion, but a relationship. This realization opened my eyes to much, but today I want to focus on how that changed my view of confession.
It was then I realized that in a way I had to do what my Catholic friends talked about...only my confessions were to be face to face - with God and others.
Thankfully, this no longer makes me sick, but it's still an area with room for improvement. I'm currently doing Wendy Blight's Bible study titled, "Cultivating a Heart of Prayer" and this week God has been speaking to me through this verse -
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16
Three weeks ago today my grandma passed away, the last week we knew the end was near and I was preparing my children for her death, but honestly I didn't do a real good job of preparing myself.
Her death has impacted me even more than I expected it to. I know it's natural to be sad and grieve, but as one who has a history with depression I feel like I'm falling back into a pit. I've regressed to the "I'm fine" response at times and feel myself drifting and disconnecting.
I'm grateful I realize this and know this study is all in God's timing. So yesterday as I read this verse from James yet again, I asked God, "Lord what sins do I need to confess?"
I didn't hear His voice, but I felt Him impress some things on my heart -
"Jill, you're not being entirely honest. Remember a half truth is still a full lie. You're struggling at times, you're sad, you miss your grandma...it's OK, tell people that."
"My daughter you are also anxious, you're worried, you fear losing someone else."
Then like Jesus spoke to Martha, I sensed Him say, "Jill, Jill you are worried and upset about many things..."
I couldn't deny what God was saying...losing my grandma has been harder than what I'm sharing with others. But I was surprised when He called me out on my fears...I hadn't really thought about that, but my mind has played the 'what if' game. I was visiting with a friend who just lost her mom and heard of another losing a child...I can't imagine the pain that would bring and can tell myself I could never handle that. God's right (He always is), I have been fearing death, change and pain when the only one I need to fear is Him.
As I thought about this one sin that rose to the top was the sin of disobedience. I say I believe God's Word, but there are parts of it I have not been obeying. Specifically 2 Corinthians 10:5b, "we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ," and Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
I have not taken every thought captive...I've entertained lies, dwelled on worries and pondered the what if's. At times my thoughts have been wrong, ugly, and ones I didn't want you to know. So today I confess that to you.
Why? Because that is what God is telling me to do. And because I believe His Word...He commands me to confess and us to pray and then promises He will heal.
Thank you friends for your prayers and let's praise Him for His power. His Word is alive and when we seek Him, we will find Him. I encourage you to confess your sins as well and if you're not sure what they are, ask Him, He'll show you and then He'll work to make James 5:16 a reality in your life as well!