By Marilynn Chadwick

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  —James 5:16 NIV

Confession. It's good for the soul. And according to God’s Word, it's good for the body. We see the connection between the confessing of our sins and the healing of disease. A form of prayer, confession is the disclosure of our sins both to God and to our fellow believers.

I've heard it said that our secrets make us sick. James uses an interesting word for sickness. In addition to the illness-related meaning, this particular word can mean "weary, fatigued, mentally drained, exhausted." We see that sin not only separates us from God, but it's also exhausting. Confession of our sins is sometimes the first step toward healing.

The word confession in the Greek, exomologeo, comes from the Greek words ek, or "out," and homologeo, or "to assent." It means "to admit or acknowledge" and conveys the idea of a public admission of one's faults. I don't think it matters whether we confess our shortfalls to one or two or ten. The idea is to acknowledge our failure before God and others, taking the stinger out of our soul and opening ourselves to prayer. James reminds us that the prayer of faith is powerful to heal both body and soul.

Do you have someone to whom you can freely confess your sins? I encourage you to pause and think about your relationships for a minute. We all need accountability. Without it, we can't grow as God intended and we surely can't experience freedom from sin. Following Christ was never meant to be a solo journey.

A courageous young friend recently took James' admonition seriously. Eager to grow in her faith walk, she emailed a few of her close friends and family members:

I am reflecting on areas of growth and want to understand some of my hang-ups. You've been an integral part of my life and have seen my good, bad, and ugly. Would you speak into my life about anything you see that hinders the future God has called me to? Thanks for helping me in my journey toward holiness.

Might we also be courageous today to not only confess our known sins to each other but actively seek feedback from those who know and love us? Through confessionlet's take the stinger out of our soul and open the door to God's provision of freedom, health, and holiness.

Lord, you know my secrets... the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of me that no one sees. Give me boldness to address the sin in my life head-on. Help me understand the freedom that comes with full disclosure. Give me wisdom about which friends can be trusted and who will pray daring and faith-filled prayers on my behalf. Thank you that you desire healing... body, soul, and spirit. For by your wounds, I have been made whole.

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