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.
I have written in a past devotional about the need for strong spiritual friends. I feel the Lord leading me to write on this topic again. Before I get into the topic of spiritual allies, it is paramount that the Christian example we emulate is Jesus Christ himself. Unfortunately, we all too often hear reports and read articles of great Christian leaders failing or having secret sins revealed to the world. We should not be aiming to emulate popular theologians, pastors, or authors. Jesus Christ is the greatest, and only, Christ-like example. He will never fail us or let us down. As long as He is the one we are aiming to be like, then while we will grieve when Christian leaders fall, our foundations will not be permanently shaken.
Let’s be honest. We all sin. We are all imperfect. It says in Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
All of us have sinned, and we continue sinning. Our goal should be to sin less daily as a way of showing our love to God, but we will never be completely free of sin until we go to Heaven. There is no amount of degrees in divinity, church leadership positions, Christian books we can write, or any other earthly thing that we can do that will cause us to stop sinning all together.
Yet, as many Christians will profess, they feel judged or uncomfortable when they talk about their sins in church or to other Christians. I can attest to this as well. For years, I did not seek help for certain sins in my life for fear of the reactions and judgment of the “perfect” churchgoers I attended with. This caused me to hide my sin, continue to struggle, and pretend to be perfect just like my fellow congregants.
Thankfully, after many years of this, I was blessed with the opportunity of attending a Christian men’s outing. God did something miraculous in that group. Men stereotypically hide their emotions, but God’s spirit moved through that group, and dozens of men began to cry and confess their deepest, darkest sins and struggles. It was one of the most uplifting, most beautiful, most cathartic experiences of my Christian life.
It says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
This verse should be uplifting in many ways. The first way is when it says that there is no temptation that is not common to mankind. This means that there are other Christians going through the same temptations that you are. I found this to be true during this men’s outing.
Note that it says, “He will provide a way out so that you can endure it.” For me, God provided a way out by blessing me with strong Christian men to go to and confess my sins free of judgement and hypocrisy. This judgement free Christian companionship and support has helped me master and overcome many sins in my life. We are all struggling, and if we continue to struggle in silence, then we will continue to see men and women in the church fall to affairs, drunkenness, or simply walk away from the church.
We need to get off our high horses, realize that we are sinful as well, and seek out our fellow brothers and sisters for help in our struggles. It says in Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Christianity is not a solo game, but a team sport where we all work together to help each other and spread the gospel of Christ. Our foolish acts of self-righteousness do not help us, and do not help others. If we pretend to be perfect, and condemn everyone who makes a mistake, we do not spread Christ’s love effectively. God knows we are not perfect, yet forgives us, and continues to love us. I thank God that he does not treat me the way I have treated others.
It says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” If you were to fall to a sin or temptation, how many Christians would run to help you? If a person in your church was struggling with a terrible sin, would you pray for their healing? Would you offer counsel?
If we can’t be open and honest about our sins, then we will continue to hide our sins. Some of these sins will lead to greater sins, and cause more pain, heartache, and consequences while on earth. We should not desire this to happen to us, and we should not desire it to happen to our fellow Christians.
Pray that we as Christians will start being more open about our failures, and stop acting self-righteous. This openness amongst the people of God will start the healing process. We can then begin to help each other and start achieving mastery over our sins. Pray also that God will open the doors for you to find Christian brothers if you are a man and Christian sisters if you are a woman that you can go to for confession, encouragement, and prayer.
As it says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Joshua Bixler is a Christian, husband, father, and a Sunday School teacher for 5th grade boys. He is a veteran of two combat deployments to Afghanistan, and loves military history. He and his wife create tabletop RPG gaming products for their publishing label Bix Six Adventures on the DriveThruRPG website.