Points to Ponder: The healing properties of confession

Points to Ponder
The healing properties of confession
By Pastor Dennis Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer

"Confess your trespasses to one another,
and pray for one another, that you may be healed" (James 5:16a).
One of the scariest things I hated to face as a boy was getting a shot. Even today, if I need a blood test, I feel the stress level rise in me as the nurse ties my arm and taps the vein in preparation. These are good things, yet many of us face them with a great sense of UNEASE.
Confession tends to have the same affect; until we actually do it. There are times when we must take the shot, face that sting of admitting we were wrong. But as I reflect on those times when I've confessed, there is a sense of relief that has followed. When I stop guarding my ego, my need for a guard dissipates.
The healing properties of confession are noted in scripture. David writes:
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered"
(Psalm 32:1).
He recalls those times when he withheld honest self-confrontation. For a person who (like David) seeks to walk with God and serve Him, it literally makes him ill to avoid facing his sin.
"When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer" (v. 3-4).
It's hard to go on with your life's routines when you've got that albatross hanging around your neck. The more conscious you are of the Lord and your desire to live for Him, the more you feel His hand "heavy upon me."
What gets into your spirit, will flow through your body and soul. The Word of God will often dig into you deep and shine light on the dark corners of your soul that you thought were safely hidden.
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
How can the Bible - a book - do that? If you spend any time in the scriptures, you know it's true. It's interesting to note that when a believer has fallen into some sin, when it's finally found out, the person will tell me that they had not read their Bible in awhile. The deeper and longer they go into their sin, the more resistant they become to opening the word. It convicts from within; almost literally, their bones seem to "grow old" (v. 3), and they groan in their spirit. No peace, no joy, no escape; save one: confess it.
David celebrates the healing properties of confession; which means to agree with God that you've sinned. When we share our confession with another believer, and/or that one whom we've offended, a weight is lifted. Healing begins in the offender as well as the offended.
"I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,' and You forgave the iniquity of my sin" (Psalm 32:5).
James puts it in the context of a community of Christ's followers:
"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).
How effectively and powerfully can we pray together when we are all honest before God and one another? Living a lie is not living at all.
David follows his confession with a truth we would do well to consider.
"For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You" (Psalm 32:6a).
A godly person is one who lives their life for God; seeking to please Him and to be in close relationship with Him. Such a person wants to have nothing between himself and the Lord. Honesty is truly the best policy.
Are we willing to be accountable to anyone? When was the last time you admitted, "I was wrong"? Are you avoiding paying up on that apology you owe someone?

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 10:45pm, both days.