Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. — James 5:16 (ESV)
When it comes to confessing to one another, it’s important we understand the way the enemy works. He loves darkness. He loves us to keep things hidden in secret, so that he can feed us shameful thoughts, full of condemnation. Our only defense is to bring it out into the open so that the Holy Spirit can then lead us to freedom. The word “confess” in James 5:16 is the Greek word ekzomologeo, and it means “to declare, to say out loud, to exclaim, to divulge or to blurt it out.” I love that it means to blurt it out!
I can think of many times when I was under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and I had the courage to ‘blurt it out’. When it comes to nurturing ourselves, we must think of this as a crucial part of the process. It may seem counter productive for some people, or a little taboo, like talking with your mouth full, but God says that as we confess our faults, we invite restoration.
I love how the Amplified Bible puts it: it clarifies your sins to be, “… your faults, your slips, your false steps, your offenses.” Well, that seems to cover it all! Did you know that the word “faults” is the Greek word paraptoma meaning a failing in some area of one’s life? One Greek translator says it can also denote a person who accidentally bumped into something, or one who had accidentally swerved or turned amiss and has thus thought something or done something that is erroneous. I really enjoy this definition because sometimes our faults are a simple falling in an area; an accident. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think people just accidentally fall
into sin. But sometimes we can hurt ourselves without being totally aware, just like I did in that office long ago. I wasn’t consciously thinking that I would make an agreement against the Word of God, but in the moment I faced a decision of fear or faith, and I chose fear. However, once it was brought to my attention, I renounced it at once, confessing ‘my faults’ and repenting before the Lord and also my friend in Christ.
We need to get good at using our mouths to confess. I think of how many arguments I’ve been in that don’t end with the words, “I was wrong, will you forgive me?” Sometimes it’s implied, as though the offended party should just know. But I think it’s important to admit what we did and to make it right. More importantly, God considers it important too, and He created us! He knows what’s best for us and confession (and the freedom it ushers into our lives) is a part of that.