“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed.” James 5:16a (KJV).
The NLT version says: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
It’s interesting to think of faults versus sins. If I confessed my “faults”, we’d be here for weeks. Hopefully, if I confess my sins, they would be few.
Today, I’m going to confess a recent sin that I committed. I told a lie. Not an outright lie, but a half truth. And you know the saying,
“A half truth is a whole lie.” (A Yiddish Proverb)
So — my husband and I had decided to join the church we have been attending for a little over two years. We asked the Pastor and his wife to come to supper so we could make sure we were on the same page. We had started to join previously, but I stopped it because I felt like my husband and I needed to get a few things straightened out in our lives to even be fit to be church members there. It’s a great church and I didn’t want us bringing our past baggage into it. The main thing I needed to work on was getting rid of the anger and bitterness I felt from dealing with past church experiences that had made me not trust pastors and others. I had been reading my Bible faithfully, but living it out was another matter. I wanted to be able not just to read it, but to apply it. My husband needed to be more faithful in reading his Bible every day.
Our new Pastor made it clear that you don’t clean up to join. You join and clean up as you go, and you are not to waste several years of not serving.
It is my opinion that you are not ready for service until your heart is right. But the next thing I tell you will show that my heart is… still not right…sigh.
So — at our church the need to be faithful in attendance, not only to Sunday morning and Sunday night, but also on Wednesday nights is stressed. If you want to grow in Christ, you need to be under sound teaching as much as possible. You also need to hang out with like-minded people, and your church should be considered as family.
We keep our grandchildren every other Wednesday night and so we don’t attend. But when I related this to the Pastor, the way I phrased it made it sound like we had grandchildren every Wednesday night. In his kindness, he was very gracious and let me know that was reasonable… as ministering to family is very important to him.
After he and his wife left, I realized what I had done. I didn’t exactly purpose to make it sound like we had them every week, it came out more like, “You know we keep our grandchildren on Wednesday nights, and that’s why we don’t come.”
Okay — enter God and conviction into my head and heart.
ME: I am always tired. It is cold and dark at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday nights. If we can’t go one week, why try to go the other? I need to guard my time. Free time is hard to come by. Did I say that I was tired all the time?
GOD: He throws into my head the story of Ananias and Sapphira. They gave part of their money to the church and lied and said it was all. Essentially I was not giving time, that I actually had, just as they were not giving money, they actually had, and then lied about it. They were keeping back a part of their money yet saying they were giving everything. I was doing the same thing… just with time. And what happened to them?
You can read their story in Acts 5:1-11.
I had been reading about confessing your sin and having a clear conscience in Sarah Mally Hancock’s book, Speak Truth In Your Heart, and how important it is to confess your sin. So on the Sunday, before we were to join, I got up my courage and called the Pastor over and told him how I had made it sound like we keep the grandkids every Wednesday, but in actuality we don’t, and we could attend every other Wednesday. I let him know we would be there on the coming Wednesday, unless Satan intervened… because you know… when you try to do something right, you usually have to fight Satan to do it.
We made it on Wednesday, but at one point some things happened that made us think we wouldn’t get there.
We made it, and it was so worth our time. The message was taught from Philippians 4, by one of our young preachers (probably early 20’s), and the main focus was on verse 7. He explained how God’s peace places a guard over our hearts and minds.
Here’s the verse: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7.
Was confessing easy?
Because you are dealing with humans. I confessed to a few others besides the Pastor and had to see the look of disappointment, and the look that says—humm… maybe she lies about everything. But you know what? I don’t care. I have peace with God and that is what is important. Humans judge. God forgives.
I am looking forward to attending the next Wednesday I get a chance. And I am trying my best to watch my words and make sure what I speak is the truth.
And now— for the next thing I am having to work on…
“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” Psalm 101:5 (KJV)
or the NLT version, “I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride.” (Psalm 101:5)
This is another verse I found when reading Sarah’s book. Surely we do need to let God’s Words speak truth into our hearts.
Slander: “A false tale or report maliciously uttered, and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens…. to defame…” (KJV Dictionary)
Some people would say… if it is true, then it’s not slander. But the Bible says:
- “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” Proverbs 11:13
- “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Proverbs 18:8
- “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” Proverbs 26:20
- And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” 1 Timothy 5:13
- “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:” 1 Peter 3:10
- But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36
Ha! Makes you want to stop talking—right? Anyway, I’m working on that, too. To make sure what I say doesn’t make people look bad. I haven’t gotten it totally under control, but I’m doing better by the help and grace of God.
Have you had to confess a sin to someone else? If so, would you mind sharing in the comments below? Your story may help someone else.
The times I most often have to confess a sin is when my wife and I get in an argument and I say something hurtful and later have to confess I did it for that reason. Most often when I know I’m in the wrong or don’t have a good argument, I resort to being unkind. Doesn’t happen often, and not lately, but it’s happened.
Thanks for your honesty, Tim. I think others can understand and be more tolerant of unkindness if they know the person is already suffering from knowing they are wrong and without a good argument. Your answer gives great insight, and will help others to think about and use that verse in Proverbs where “a soft answer turns away wrath…” (Proverbs 15:1) And it is great that you are getting it under control since it “doesn’t happen often” anymore. You are growing in grace:)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and journey.