“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
There was a time when I worked in an abusive workplace environment. Two of my coworkers had personal issues that they made public by targeting other employees in the office. I don’t know why. Maybe they were jealous that other lives were not in melt-down. Or, perhaps the abusers’ personal and work lives were filled with turmoil because of their own attitudes and actions.
At one point, I received an apology from one of these coworkers, but nothing changed. An apology without change is about as powerful as a puff of air. But I get it. I hate admitting I’m wrong. Change is even more difficult.
I’ve given my attitude toward owning my failures a great deal of thought and prayer. Do I fear the consequences, am I resistant to change or do I simply hate appearing flawed?
I find accountability essential in my life. I need trusted friends who are also Christ-followers in my life. I know that they will love me no matter what and that they are a safe place. We can speak the hard truths to each other… Click To Tweet
Despite these facts, I find accountability essential in my life. I need trusted friends who are also Christ-followers in my life. I know that they will love me no matter what and that they are a safe place. We can speak the hard truths to each other without condemnation.
Do you have one or more of those friends? If you don’t, I’d have to ask why not? Starting these relationships is well worth the risk.
And James Says…
In this verse, James is talking about two things, confessing our sins to others and the prayers of the righteous. How are they related?
This verse is talking about confession to fellow believers. Sometimes, the person we need to confess to may have been the very person who wronged us, and we need to forgive. Prayer is essential in these cases. We don’t want to miss out on their “powerful and effective prayers” because we are unwilling to confess our own sin or point out when we believe we have been sinned against.
Confessing our sins to each other serves several purposes:
• It works humility in us. We have to humble ourselves and admit our sins before others.
• It causes us to practice honesty. Authenticity is one mark of a Christ-follower.
• It helps us practice forgiveness, especially if the sin involves actions toward another. If we need to seek reconciliation, we must live out real change, and not just say we’re sorry.
• It holds us accountable for how we live and treat others.
In our walk through life, we need companions who will pray for us when we can’t pray. We will all have seasons or days when life is just too hard to spend the needed time petitioning for God’s blessing. Perhaps we are very ill or maybe overwhelmed by work. At times, we are too distraught to voice our prayers. We need faithful warriors who will fall to their knees for us.
James tells us prayer is a powerful part of the Christian walk and that prayer for others is an essential part of Christian community. Holding onto sin is not worth the cost of leaving powerful prayer out of our lives.
This post appeared first on the Balanced and Beautiful in Christ Facebook page. Thanks to Jessie Courson for the graphic and to Nicole Williams for her editing assistance. Nicole, you always improve what I write.