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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. James 5:16 NIV

Confess your sins! We can all agree we sin. Hopefully, each day as followers of Christ, it becomes less, but sadly we still err and need healing from our sin-sickness. The way we receive this healing is through confession and forgiveness. But to whom do we confess?

Today's verse tells us to confess to each other, but the Bible also says, "If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 Jn 1:9) Which is correct? Confession to God or others? Well, both!

Because of Jesus' gift, we can admit our sins directly to God. When we present ourselves with humility and repentance, God, in his grace, takes our unrighteousness and makes us righteous.

There are times, though, when we've confessed our sins before God, and he's forgiven us, yet we struggle with the idea we've been fully pardoned. What we've done seems unforgivable to us, and though we want to believe, we can't. This is a time when confessing to another can be helpful. To hear the reassurance from a sister or brother that we have been forgiven.

At other times, the person hearing the confession is the one from whom we seek forgiveness. Before taking our sins to God, we must first seek reconciliation with our siblings. In partaking at the communion table, we hear these familiar words, "By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world." In confession before God and each other, we obtain this unity.

In the verses from James and 1 John, we hear the result of our confession, the healing, is righteousness. This renewal is part of our sanctification, our continued growth in God's divine grace to become the people we are meant to be, to become more like Christ.

God, thank you for hearing our confession and granting us forgiveness. We acknowledge we are not worthy, but you do this from your love and grace. We sometimes fail to accept your forgiveness, thinking what we've done is unforgivable. Thank you for our siblings that listen with compassion and mercy. Help us when we find it hard to confess our sins against others. Those times when our human pride makes it hard to admit we were wrong. Grant us the courage and humility to say we're sorry. God, heal us and unite us with you. Make us into your righteous, sanctified people so we may carry your ministry into the hurting sin-sick world. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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