I was thinking about what James says about confession in his letter:
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. (TNIV)
There are some rather obvious implications that seem to be rarely practiced in our Christian communities.
- James assumes that it will be a common thing to find that we have sinned. Many times we’re trying to make it the common assumption that most of us haven’t.
- He expects that we will be honest with one another about our shortcomings, our failings, our disobediences, our lapses. Again, most of the time we hide unless we’re caught.
- Having let one another know of our sins, James expects that instead of holding those sins against one another, or gossiping about them to others, or looking down on one another from a supposed place of greater righteousness, that we will bring one another before God—into God’s presence—and invite His grace to be active.
- James expects that this kind of brotherly honesty and supportive prayer will result in a healing of body and soul. He assumes, perhaps, that the root cause of the sin will be remedied.
- Might the “righteous person” here be one who continues to be honest about his sin, asks his brothers to pray for him, and trusts in God to bring the deep healing that he needs so as to be practically and actually righteous?
- Where do I have relationships with other Christians where this pattern is practiced?
- Who knows my life so well, with all its shortcomings and line-crossings, that they can pray effectively and powerfully for me?
- If I do not have such relationships, am I willing to seek them out that I can receive the gift that God wants James 5:16 to be for me?