Recently I was listening to Mark Laaser on a Covenant Eyes podcast. During the course of the broadcast, the host said the following:
“Confession offers others the privilege of going second”
This statement really resonated with me as a pastor and spiritual leader. Far too many of us live in the shadows of shame and secrecy. The enemy isolates us with the threat of rejection, yet healing and wholeness come to us when we walk in the light.
James put it this way:
16 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
He was writing in the context of suffering and healing, but I believe the principle of confession to one another is a powerful reality. Confession is not admitting that you got caught but rather agreeing with God that you have sinned and need help.
Confession in relationships begins to tear away at the walls of isolation between us. Years ago, I was in a pastor’s group and felt compelled to admit to my trusted friends some of my private and personal struggles. I must admit I was scared to death to be that open and vulnerable but I follow my heart and opened up. After I made my confession there was a long tense pause in the conversation as I prepared myself for the worse. Then one of my friends let out a big sigh and said, “David, I thought I was the only one who struggled.” Then one by one my friends acknowledged their hurts and struggles. Suddenly this group of pastors was transformed from men playing their “part” to men who were truly there to help each other. (To be frank, over the course of the next few week we lost a few of our number because they were uncomfortable with how messy grace can be–but this circle was a place of healing and hope for me.)
In recent days I have seen the dark effects of living in the shadows for those in places of spiritual leadership around me. I pray that each of us could find a trusted friend we could be “real” with and truly share our hearts. I pray that I can be that kind of safe place for a struggling friend.
I am not advocate you jump up in church and bare your soul to the whole congregation or even your whole Bible study group. However, I am suggesting that there are safe places and people out there that can help you walk in the light–where you will find wholeness and healing.
So don’t be afraid to go first–you are not alone. We are in this together.