James 5:16a Amplified
Confess to one another therefore your faults
(your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins)
and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed
and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart].
The Lord recently demonstrated to me that some silences are deadly precisely because they nurture unbelief.
I was talking to Carole about my weekend and where I was, spiritually. And I found myself confessing some doubts and fears to her. Specifically, I was afraid that several recent experiences of grace were, in actuality, not grace at all. Since I quit smoking, I’ve had no consistent appetite for the Lord at all. It comes and goes, and sometimes it’s days and days of absolutely nothing. It’s been such a strange time for me because emotionally I’m just blah. It’s disconcerting to feel so completely dead one minute, then have enormous joy over someone I’m talking to on the phone, and then feel dead again minutes after hanging up. I was beginning to believe that I was just a liar and hypocrite, going through the motions without really accessing God’s Love at all. I mean, how can I possibly access grace when I feel so very ungodly?
The moment I began to speak these doubts and fears to Carole, they dissipated. They literally lost their legitimacy, became ridiculous, and ceased to hold any sway over my mind. I had been silently wrestling with them for days, and they were gaining ground fast. But as soon as I spoke them aloud, to another person, poof! Only empty accusations with no substance remained. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Hello, McFly! If I could only access grace when I was feeling good and clean and righteous, then it wouldn’t be grace. Obvious, no? But I couldn’t grasp that simple, wonderful truth until I confessed my fear and doubt out loud.
I think we’re encouraged to confess to one another in part because some things MUST be brought to the Light that way to be banished. And it was instant and easy! I am so naturally habituated to shame that I struggle to admit the specific doubts and fears that attack me. I often feel like I’m the only one who wrestles with what my Christian life looks like when it’s walked out. And that’s ridiculous!
How much of my unbelief grew in the fertile ground of hidden fears? And all because I didn’t want to admit something to other people! How often does my pride keep me from accessing spiritual healing and restoration?
I don’t want shame and pride to lock me in mortal combat with sin that is immediately conquered through confession.
To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7b KJV