Drive-by Scripture: James 5:16

Therefore, make it your habit to confess your sins to one another and to pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James chapter 5, verse 16, International Standard Version)

I sometimes wonder if this is where the Roman Catholic Church went so wrong with confession. We’re supposed to bring our sins straight to God, which is possible through hands_raised_upJesus’ life and death and resurrection. And yet the Vatican decided, “Hey, let’s make our people confess to a priest who will figure out the appropriate punishment before you can be considered forgiven.”


But I digress, as I so often do.

Confessing our sins to one another is to be honest about our failings. This is necessary to keep us honest and humble among our Christian brethren, and it is necessary to show those who aren’t Christian that while we may not be perfect, we also aren’t going to be hypocritically lying that we’re better people than they are.

A pity that so many Christians fail at that.

Admitting our failings and offenses is also important to keep healthy and honest communication going, with Christians or non-Chrisitians. It doesn’t mean giving a laundry list of every little sin or misstep but it does mean stepping up and saying, “I’ve been guilty of this kind of behavior.” Next step, of course, is to try to improve on that behavior.

As for the second part of James’ quote above, praying is important. We may not see the results of our prayers for ourselves or others in any immediate sense, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. Most things in life aren’t a quick fix.

2 Responses to “Drive-by Scripture: James 5:16”

  1. February 12, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    “Honesty about our failings.” That is the best explanation I’ve heard for “confessing our sins to one another.”

    But alas, we are taught from a young age to not show any faults, and to work like a dog to hide any flaws. We use expressions like “don’t live your life in a glass house” (one of my mom’s favorites) to instill fear of “outsiders” learning about the “real you.”

    I find this terribly unhealthy, and a form of lying that Brad Blanton tackles in one of my favorite books (Radical Honesty). Right now, I’m in the first relationship of my life where I didn’t hide. And he doesn’t hide from me. And we’re head-over-heels for each other because the love is genuine and not based on a “mask” that we prepared to look good/acceptable to the other.

    I look at strained relationships between parents and children (including my own with my mother), and the theme always seems to be parental expectations that the child resents and/or is hiding from over guilt and fear of losing love and acceptance.

    And since Satan is also referred to as “the father of lies,” I am beginning to believe this level of “lying” can be found in the evil he wishes to inflict on all of us. It sure is damaging enough to reek of Satan’s influence.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    February 12, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Good thoughts, Hawa.

    I find that honesty in my marriage and being willing to talk about damn near anything and listen to damn near anything has been a major factor in the fact we don’t argue much.

    There are still uneasy topics and things that are hard to broach, but even being willing to make the attempt to be more open is a huge step in the right direction.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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February 2009

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