"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.
This passage is amazing for two reasons, 1: it talks about community, fellowship, the Church the way it was intended and still is intended to be and 2: It validates and speaks volumes into the POWER of prayer.
Confess your sins to each other...you see, this section had not been brought to my attention until my freshman year in college (which is now, but I wanted to sound older. =] ). I had always imagined confessing my sins to God and to God only and that He was going to be the One forgiving them and then letting them go, you know like it was a checklist and once I gave them to Him He'd get rid of them in my life. Or at least, that's what I told myself and if I got stuck in the sin, then oh well, I'd just keep confessing. So, this whole confessing to others, no way, that requires too much and makes the sin too real. It forces me to need a Savior because someone in the world knows of my inadequacy and I can't keep pretending that I can earn my own salvation and be my own Savior.
Could you imagine what community would look like, what a leader-follower relationship would look like, what a Church would look like if this was practiced? Confessing our sins to each other, even the ones that we keep deep in our hearts, that we bury and hold down with shame and guilt and remorse?
Let's try something. Picture a sin, not one that you forgot to pray over a meal or that you got mad at your brother or whatnot, but one that you've struggled with over and over again. One that you feel enslaved to, one that you return to time and time again as a dog returns to their vomit. The ones like addiction to pornography, lust, hating your body, defining yourself by others, doubts about God's Existence. The ones like cutting, abusing your body, abusing someone else's, like pre-marriage sex.
Now, think about looking someone in the eye, watching them blink, crease their eyebrows, lean in attentively and tell them, tell that person your sin, the one coated in slime, the one held in so long that you don't even know how to live without. Does it make you cringe? Does it make your face flush in embarrassment? Does it make your heart curl up and tighten? That's the opposite of freedom. God, came and proclaimed a message of true FREEDOM. He gave us community so that we may drop our chains, not so that we can pick them up. God, tells us to confess our sins to each other so that we may grow and get rid of the footholds that the demons hold in the darkness.
But it doesn't end there, He says to pray over them for healing. Think about the healing that can begin when you confess your sin to someone righteous, and Godly and they place their hands on you and pray that God will come in and bind your broken heart, can release you from the enslavement this sin has over you. That my friend is freedom.
So, grab hold of your image, the false one that shows perfect skin, a perfect heart and a whole person, and peel it back, however painful it might be. Reveal to someone here on this Earth that underneath that person is one riddled with holes and rips, one enslaved by sin and desperate for a new life, for healing. Show your holes and find your freedom, just as the Lord intended it to be.
Check out the video that is posted explaining the song Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North too, a lot of what I said I got from that video.