“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16
You’ve heard it said that confession is good for the soul. Dietrich Bonhoeffer agreed: “A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins everything remains in the dark, but in the presence of a brother the sin has been brought into the light.”
Satan had found a foothold in my past that was hindering the present. Although I had recited “the sinners prayer,” I still felt ashamed of certain sins I had committed and unworthy to be used by God. I was convinced that if any of my Christian friends knew how bad I really was, they’d avoid me. At a summer retreat, the youth pastor taught on this text in James, saying, “If Satan is continually reminding you of sins you’ve already confessed, if you feel stuck in the past, then confessing your sins to another could break the cycle.” I was terrified but felt compelled to confess the untold story of my past to my friends. Instead of condemnation, they offered compassion. Instead of pointing fingers, they laid hands on me and asked God to heal my wounds. From that time on, the cycle of guilt and shame was broken, and the light of God flooded my soul.
In this text, James offers hope to all believers: Confessing our sins to one another and praying for each other brings God’s healing touch. Is there something in your past that Satan is imprisoning you with? Find a friend or Pastor to confess your sins and see how God will break Satan’s hold on you.