In life, I like everything to be tidy. I am not referring to my house, but my relationships.
If there is mess, I have an overwhelming need to fix things. If I have offended someone I am in a state until I have righted it. I have a need to reconcile no matter how difficult the situation appears. I wanted my marriage and family to look neat and have pretty edges. Instead, whopping flaws were exposed for everyone to see. I wanted love and harmony to reign and only acceptable sins to be on view.
My husband’s wrong doing cannot be referred to as “an acceptable sin.” I wanted the hurt to my church family to be put right, but I couldn’t fix it. I didn’t want our children to be impacted negatively by their dad’s behaviour, but they have been, and I can’t fix that either. A hard lesson I have learned in this process is having to hand control over to God, and trust him with the consequences. This has seemed unbearable and impossible at times, but I am learning that there is no other way. We have to leave the fixing to God.
We find it hard when others see our failings; I want people to think well of us; I desire affirmation not shame, and it’s hard to cope knowing that people now see us with all our massive failings on show.
It’s difficult admitting failure to one other. We know we can’t impress God, but we often try to impress each other. But when I have been with Christians who are brave enough to talk openly about their flaws, and confess their sin and failings to others, my heart has been impacted for great good. It’s liberating and transforming to hear from others about their struggles and failings; not because we can gloat and feel superior, but because it gives us permission to be open and transparent back. When this happens we connect on a spiritual level and we are mutually encouraged by one another. Also, the focus is off us, off our own efforts to live good lives and instead our focus is on God’s almighty forgiveness and grace. This results in looking at Jesus and his righteousnes, not ours.
Whether our sins are big or small, we still fail. Confessing to one another is biblical and is of great worth. It helps stop pride and a judgmental heart. It forms solid friendships with a spiritual foundation which is based on truth and honesty and accountability with one other. Confessing our sins to each other gives others a liberty to confess back, which brings us from darkness into light, and reminds us that God is not interested in our good works, but he is interested in a contrite and penitent heart. So if God loves us to confess and come to him with nothing, then this is how we must be with each other. The out-working of this is that we can tangibly help and pray for others in their struggles which would never come to light if we hadn’t been open and transparent first. When we confess our sins to each other, honesty and transparency reign, and we are reminded that it’s all of grace, and all our works in God’s eyes are like filthy rags.
James 5:16 says:
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.
I pray that as we confess our sins to one other, we may be built up and rooted in Christ who bore all our sin. This takes the focus off our own goodness as we look up to Christ, who was the only one who was ever good.
Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good except God alone. ( Mark 10:18)