Healing Confession

In 2006, confession of sin became an artistic expression. Two artists, Laura Barnett and Sandra Spannan, created an exhibit in a storefront in Manhattan, which allowed passersby to confess their sins. They sat in the storefront, dressed as 19th-century washerwomen. The words on the window read, "Air your dirty laundry. 100-percent confidential. Anonymous. Free." Onlookers were encouraged to confess their sins on pieces of paper. When those who "confessed" walked away, however, the women collected their written sins and displayed them for all to see.

James commanded believers in Jesus to confess their sins to one another (5:16). The context for this verse is praying and caring for the physically sick. Praying for the sick, however, included a command for mutual confession and prayer. James was teaching that all sin, especially unconfessed sin, is a dangerous enemy to the body of Jesus. It leads to the breaking of fellowship with God and others, the building of relational walls and the destruction of community, and the prevention of moral change in the lives of believers.

Confession brought healing, physical and spiritual. Scripture reveals that we should first confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9). Then, despite the risks (rejection, embarrassment), we can and should "confess [our] sins to each other." How? Sin that has affected the body of Christ should be confessed to the body. Sin against a fellow believer should be confessed to that individual. For sin that is not against the body of Christ or a person, we should use wisdom and find a fellow believer to whom we can admit our sins. God gives us divine help as we confess our sins to Him.

There's great power in a community that is serious about mutual confession and prayer. , Marvin Williams

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