Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16).
When you read the command to confess your sins to others, you might internally hear questions like these:
- Why in the world would I tell somebody what I did?
- What if they change their opinion of me?
- What if they reject me?
- What if other people find out?
These are all valid questions. But, there is one other question worth considering: What if I get healed? This is the very reason James gives for why it’s important to confess to others!
Confession is a necessary step toward freedom and transformation, despite how hard it may be.
So how can you get the courage to confess?
If the thought of confessing your sins to someone makes you feel extremely afraid and ashamed, here are some suggestions that can help you:
- Ask Jesus for help. He is standing with arms wide open, ready to help you. Ask him for the courage to be open and honest and ask him who is a safe person to open up about these secret sins.
- Trust the work of the Holy Spirit. If you are considering the idea of confession, the Holy Spirit is at work. We like to think these are our own ideas, but it is God urging us to confess. And if God is urging we can trust it’s for a good and loving reason.
- Acknowledge past hurts. Many of us have a history of stories where vulnerability was a negative, such as crying as a kid, being called a baby, having parents never admit their faults, or church leaders talking about sinners as “them” and not “us.” These past hurts can make it very difficult to confess. So it is important to acknowledge to yourself and to God how those past hurts make it hard to confess today.
- Seek out someone safe. Entrusting a difficult part of your life to another person is no small thing, so it’s important to find someone who will honor what you share. Consider someone you know who is in recovery for their own habit or addiction. Or seek out a recovery group in your area, a Christian therapist, or a spiritual coach who has expertise walking with people struggling with sexual sin. If your church offers confidential confession with a pastor or priest, this can be invaluable.
- Step out on faith. Rarely are we “ready and willing” to share with others. When we open up to share, it is not that we fully know how it all will turn out. But we do it in response to God’s word and God’s promise. It is ultimately a choice to follow God, and commit to Him what happens next.
If we can be that help or that trustworthy ear for you, please let us know.