James - “Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16 TLB)
I know what you’re thinking. Most people read the above scripture and wonder, “If we receive forgiveness when we confess our sins to God and ask Him for forgiveness, why do I need to admit my faults to others? Isn’t my confession to God enough? What benefit could there be in involving someone else?” It’s true that making others aware of our deficiencies is complicated, but it’s also necessary because the root of our problems is relational. Think about it. We lie to each other, we deceive each other, we’re dishonest with others, we wear hypocritical masks in front of others, we pretend to have our act together in hopes of fooling others, and we deny our true feelings and play games with ourselves and with others.
Our faults isolate us from others and keep us from intimacy with God. The worry and fear of rejection that accompanies this activity causes us to become physically, emotionally, and spiritually sick. Because we haven’t shared our faults with anyone, they become our deepest, darkest secrets that eventually become the nightmares that haunt us throughout our lives. That’s why the Lord says that revealing our feelings to others by confessing our faults is the beginning of healing. But the amazing thing is, when we risk honesty and transparency with others, a sense of freedom can suddenly come over us. When we share with others, we begin to understand that everyone has problems, just like we do.
So the question is, who do we tell? We tell people whom we know we can trust. We tell people who can keep what we’ve shared with them in confidence. We tell some in our Life Group, a close Christian friend, or a pastor. Mature Christians will be honored that we have chosen them, will be transparent about their own struggles, and readily embrace us because they understand the love and mercy they’ve received from the Lord Jesus. What do we tell? We can share with them what we’ve written in our personal ministry inventories. We can share with them about our hurts, habits, and hangups. We don’t have to tell them all of the details. We should simply admit our problems and strongholds. When do we tell? We should schedule a time with the person we choose as soon as possible. We will always be tempted to procrastinate, but we shouldn’t do so. The longer we keep our secrets, sins, sadness, and sorrow in our hearts, the longer it will take for healing to begin and be complete.
Followup Activity - Pray about someone with whom you can admit your faults. Call, email, or text them and schedule a time when you can have their full attention. When you meet with them, be completely honest with them and follow the guidelines above. If you’re leading your family through this discussion, dialogue with them about who each of them might be able to trust to share their faults with and then challenge each member to schedule an appointment with them as soon as possible.
Prayer for Today - Lord, please give me the wisdom to select someone whom I can trust and then give me the courage to admit my faults to them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.