Is there any benefit in confessing our sins to one another – telling a Christian how disgusting, how deceptive, how shameful we are? What does the Bible say? Let’s look at 1 John 5 – 10. (ESV)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practise the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

When I think of the Bible being a sword, I picture 1 John. It tends to cut down to the ugly parts of me I refuse to acknowledge. I was actually a little hesitant to write about this topic. I suppose it would fit the topic for me to say why.

When I rededicated my life to Jesus, people seemed to think I had become perfect. No drugs, no partying, back to school… awesome stuff. What they didn’t know was that I struggled with pornography. I had since grade 5, and had done a seamless job of keeping it secret. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to stop immediately; I just failed, and the sin went even more underground than it had been.

It tore me up inside. When I should have been growing with Jesus, I was sacrificing that intimacy for cheap pleasure. The real problem was this: I didn’t tell anybody. How selfish I was! I would pray to God for deliverance, and always I would be faced with this Scripture: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16a) All of me would scream, “NO!” when I read it. I wanted to break out of my addiction, but not bad enough that I was willing to humble myself to that point. People thought I was so clean and godly for my age! They would think me disgusting then!

For eight months I pushed it aside. That love I felt for Christ at first grew cold… Revelation 2:4 would make me weep. But praise God that He can reach us through our thickest walls! I attended a prayer meeting at my church, where the Holy Spirit was moving in power. (It’s strange – most teenagers don’t take seniors seriously, but I’ve seen the incredible faith they have at my church. I want nothing but to learn from them.) When the end of the night came, the Holy Spirit was stronger than my stubborn will – I confessed to two adults.

What open arms they greeted me with! Both offered encouragement, prayer, and accountability. One had actually been in my shoes. I went home feeling totally changed.

What changed? Well, I won’t lie. I still struggle with it, and everyday is a battle. But I don’t feel alone anymore. I realize there’s people who are willing to help me, no matter what the struggle is. I can’t believe I went so long without confessing. I now have hope that one day I will be free.

And so as you can see, I write on this topic from experience, not from head knowledge. I still prefer to hide things: this is pride, and it takes the Holy Spirit to overcome that every day. So if you are where I was, for any sin, my prayer is that you submit to God as he leads you to walk into the light.

Now, as encouragement, I would like to draw your eyes to 1 John 1:7. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light… If we no longer hide our sins, putting on a facade of perfection. … we have fellowship with one another… Brothers and sisters, Satan wants you to feel alone! The Christian life was never intended to be a lonely one. The communion with other Saints comes with incredible comfort and reassurance. … and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. This does not suggest that the only way to have our sins forgiven is to confess to other humans. Rather, let me suggest what it appears to mean.

1) Coinciding with James 5:16a, it is apparent that when we confess to one another, we experience a healing. This may happen immediately, but it always happens progressively. When we stay humble and broken, the Blood of Jesus is free to move in our lives, destroying the stronghold of sin.

2) We will experience assurance of salvation as never before. Surely 1 John 1:9 is familiar to you. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It’s another verse God is using to tell you: “You are my child. I am faithful, I have forgiven you and have cleansed you.”

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all.