Therefore confess your sins to one another… (Jas. 5:16)
I was in my twenties, on my knees, confessing my sins to a monk, and I heard him snoring. When I loudly coughed he woke up for a few moments, but then he fell asleep again.
I was miffed he was so inattentive. I thought my confession merited his attention. Truth be told, I had some pride in how well I’d prepared myself. All this sounds perverse, doesn’t it?
After hearing confessions for over 30 years, I now understand how that monk could’ve fallen asleep. Sins are boring.
When I say that sins are boring, I’m not suggesting we don’t take them seriously. Sins are real. They can destroy all that’s important. Sins are dangerous. They can take us to dark places. But they’re still boring. From experience, I can also say that our sins don’t make us unique, for we all share the same temptations, mistakes, and missteps.
When I listened to people pour out their lives in their confessions what I did find thrilling had nothing to do with their sins. What was thrilling was when they trusted in God’s grace.
What else was thrilling? Their virtues, generosity, courage, and resilience; their faith carrying them through their struggles; their joys coming through their pain; their hope despite all odds; their desire for God to change their lives; their commitment to make the world a better place; their love for others; their hunger for Jesus. Compared to what I’ve just shared, sin doesn’t stand a chance.
Even though I’ve said that our sins are boring, I still encourage us to confess them. We can, of course, confess our sins straight to God. We don’t need a pastor, or anyone else.
And yet, there’s a reason why today’s scripture calls upon us to confess our sins to one another. The reason is this: When we confess our worst stuff and someone doesn’t cower away or condemn us, but instead pronounces the grace of Jesus over us—well, that’s powerful indeed. Sometimes it’s really helpful when the grace of Jesus comes from the lips of another sinner just like us.
- Have you ever confessed your sins to anyone else? If so, what was that experience like? If not, how come?
- Are there things in your life right now that are falling short of what Jesus would have you do, or how Jesus would have you live? If so, does today’s scripture have anything to say to you?
- When you have confessed your sins, did you let them go and trust in God’s grace, or did you continue to hold onto your shame and guilt? If the latter, what would help you to trust that God’s grace can forgive whatever you have done?
MyBarnabas invites you to watch the video below: