Confession is a powerful avenue of healing that sheds light on any sin we are harboring. But it can get easily lost in today’s culture of photo-shopped perfection and social media highlight reels.
However, I challenge you and me to reclaim confessing “one to another.” It is a basic and powerful element of faith for those of us who call ourselves believers in and followers of Jesus. It is also the reason that sustained commitment to a twelve-step program, such as Celebrate Recovery or Alcoholics Anonymous, is the only way many find true freedom from destructive and addictive life patterns. And it is also the reason many modern churches have lost their effectiveness in truly leading their members into a lifestyle not dominated by sin. There sometimes is more of an emphasis on looking blessed than taking time to confess.
In His famous “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus stated, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” – Matthew 5:8
Jesus’ brother, James, echoed that truth when he wrote, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16
What would our churches and our lives look like if we truly began to imitate the ancient and effective pattern of the early church of shedding light on sin so true healing can occur? Why not try it and find out?
Oh, and please note…. It doesn’t say you have to be some super human or a priest-type to hear someone else’s confession. The “one to another” lateral aspect of confession as peers and NOT as superiors is important. This prevents us from erroneously placing the power of forgiveness on anyone else other than our One True God.
The teaching on Saul’s Radical Encounter by Billy Humphrey a couple weeks ago at New Bridge Church in Atlanta is really speaking to me right now.
Follow any of the links in this blog to listen to the entire teaching. If you’re tired of church as usual that really doesn’t seem to impact culture and you long to see what a church touched by the fire of God really looks like, it will be well worth your time.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” –Isaiah 43:19
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
I shared this on LinkedIn, but will share again here because this principle applies to so much more than our careers. We can simply accomplish so much more together.
Often times, solutions thought up in a vacuum really don’t make a difference anywhere. However, when you bring together many minds and perspectives with the like goal of finding real world solutions, the possibilities are ENDLESS…. Because collaboration matters and teamwork is EVERYTHING!
We collectively gasp at yet another news blast of what we thought was a success story ending in tragic pain.
And…. where one well-known story ends, thousands more slip quietly into the dark night of despair.
All the while…. we smile for another selfie while masking our own pain.
As one who has literally been talked off the ledge of life more than once, I now stand on that same ledge and shout, “This has to end now!”
I’m not talking about ending in yet another tragedy. Rather, let’s write a different story by shining the light of transparency and authenticity on our pain so true healing has a fighting chance.
Let’s say “goodbye” to building a life of lies through social media fronts or pious religious displays of fake faith and strength.
Let’s be real even if it means letting others know we’re really hurting. And let’s be present for each other beyond a few “likes” on social media.
Let’s stop play-acting and heal together.
Ok, so…. When I saw this, it made me laugh. But it made me think, too. Could our lack of decision-making actually be a lack of faith in the fact that God is still God if when we don’t make the best decisions?
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” –James 1:5-8 (The Message Paraphrase)
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” –Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message Paraphrase)