This is a topic we toss around in Christian circles often. Some people know how valuable it is, but it’s hard to find relationships where this happens in a healthy way. Others hear the word and wince cause it means they have to shamefully bare their sins to someone, risking condemnation and judgement. Many of us talk about it but don’t really apply it because we don’t want to quit our sinful habits, and because pride keeps us from being honest with God, ourselves, and others. Maybe we will confess when we deal with lying or jealousy, but to admit we deal with sexual immorality, deceitfulness, or other sins that are more embarrassing, we just quietly struggle on our own, for fear people will find out we aren’t really all that “Christian”.
I think we forget that “Christian,” is not equivalent to “perfect”.
Yes we are called to aim for the perfect example of Jesus, but we need to stop living in shame because we will NEVER be perfect on this side of life.
Deal with it.
You’re not perfect and can’t be, no matter how hard to you try.
And if it’s your reputation you are trying to save, you are then portraying a false persona anyways. No we shouldn’t go around airing our dirty laundry to everyone. But in the book of James it says,
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
It doesn’t say we need to tell everybody so we can been ashamed, but so we can be healed. Sin is a sickness we all are trying to rid from the body and mind. When you tell your sins to someone you trust, someone who will tell you the truth and pray for you in a loving, encouraging way, it is meant to free you and heal you from the chains of sin.
It’s not easy and it’s not fun.
But God wants to set you free, so you can find joy and see spiritual fruit in your life. The point of living for God is to be loved right in the pit of sin, but then pulled of from that pit, as we walk or sometimes limp, closer to God.
If we are seeking God, we should see growth in our lives.
If we are just reading the Bible, saying “Oh what a great story and set of ideals. To bad I can’t live that way. Oh well, ” and continue to sit right where we are with out growth or positive fruit, what is the point having faith? Good “intellectual ” conversation ? Something to think about? So we can argue and debate and judge others?
The point is to grow and become whole, while experiencing God’s grace in the process. But if we aren’t growing, and seeing God change us for the better, we might need to take some time evaluating our lives.
We don’t have to do this alone.
We might need to listen to our close friends who are warning us that we are going the wrong way. When we realize God’s ways are better and we become free from the things that hold us back, we can love others better, and see that God truly is faithful.
On the flip side of accountability, we also need to help fellow Christians who are caught up in sin. Galatians says,
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
No we shouldn’t go around pointing the finger at people, telling them what they are doing wrong. The best way to do this, is to lovingly confront a friend by letting them know you are worried about them. It is also helpful to have friendships where you both have permission to call each other out.
It’s never easy to be on either side of this conversation, but God wants us to be whole and healed as individuals and in relationships, and he wants us to be free so we can set others free. It’s usually painful and uncomfortable before we can become free. But this is because we grow accustom to our fear, sin, and bondage. It becomes our normal. The process of surrendering is very scary. But God catches us as we fall from the enemy’s grasp and teaches us to walk without our shackles.