A few months ago, I was teaching Children’s church. Our topic was Hero vs Villain; the kids were able to quickly identify a hero from a villain. We talked about what makes a villain a villain and if they had ever done any of those acts. The children were surprised to identify with some behaviors of villains like jealousy, anger, or aggressive behavior. At the end of service, I ask them to think of one villainous deed they did and we would pray God would help them overcome. A little hand goes up and a 5 year old asked, “For us to pray she wouldn’t hit her sister anymore.” Then another hand went up and a girl asked if we would pray, “She wouldn’t disobey her mom by eating the dessert before the meal in her Lunchable®.” Another little guy asked, “For prayer so that he would be good in school.” One by one the children began confessing their sins and asking for prayer. I did not ask them to confess out loud but I could see they just needed to. I could also see up until that moment they never knew they were capable of sin and their need to ask for forgiveness. I was humbled by their sincerity and urgency to ask for forgiveness.
James 5 asks the question
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 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.”
As I drove home from church that day, I thought, “Wow, what if I was quick to admit my sins?” I have come to believe it is not ok to admit my struggles out of fear of being judged or not perfect. So I hide it and live in fear.
Anything that I have hidden satan will use against me. The fear of being found out is how he gets me, so I live my life believing if no one knows then I am ok…normal. I am not ok; I am miserable because this fear separates me from God, my family and church. What will happen when the truth comes out? I promise you from experience; it is easier to share then to be found out. It’s not as bad as satan leads you to believe, remember he is a liar. The darkness that looms in your life effects more than you can imagine…your health, your relationships with others but mainly your relationship with God.
Ephesians 5:8-14 confirms this belief,
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
O but to confess! What sweetness! What freedom! You no longer are tied to Satan. So if you have something you are hiding, confess! Confess to a friend or pastor it doesn’t matter but get it out in the open so it no longer keeps you in darkness. Instantly a cloud of darkness is removed from your soul.
I have learned I need to confess. At first, it makes me uncomfortable but if I’m really praying and seeking God I know it’s needed. Instead I like to tell God my excuses as to why this isn’t a good idea. Excuses are excuses and Satan will help you conjure up many of them, but you know as well as I do, it never helps anything.
Jesus says, “I have come into the world as light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” He goes on to say in John 12 that he doesn’t come to judge the world but to save it. How different would church be if we as the body took this stand not to judge the world but to save it? I know I can’t save anyone but I can point them to the One who can. It is my duty to pray for those who are struggling, who are sick, and who are in sin. I also believe it is my duty to allow people the opportunity to confess and be made new without judgment. Jesus doesn’t judge us nor condemn us. It says so in Romans 8:1, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
We all need this. We need to confess one with another; we need someone to be accountable to. I recently joined an accountability group, and I must admit it is hard to be real and transparent. It is uncomfortable and makes me feel very vulnerable. Do I really want to stand before my church or my friends and confess? I don’t think I want to but I know there are times when inside me I am screaming like the prophet Isaiah, “Woe to me, I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips.” Or the psalmist who proclaims his soul cries out for the Lord. The glorious thing is I have discovered that as soon as I say it with my mouth aloud; Satan has lost his power over me. I am no longer living in darkness, Jesus says in John 3,
“Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
It’s not something I would want to do but it is nice to know that there are other Christians out there who feel like I do or will offer up some prayer on my behalf. I am beginning to have peace in knowing it’s OK to talk about sin and failures and that I’m not walking this journey alone. I am not giving you permission to air “dirty laundry” but I am giving you permission to seek forgiveness and to do it in such a way where you will never turn back.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
God has given us many witnesses in our lives and we are to be witnesses in others’ lives of what God is doing. We are not to keep it to ourselves but to share with others the victories and struggles of life.
This is sharing life together. God doing in me and me sharing with others. Share Hope to someone today….Share the Love of Jesus. Tell others your struggles so darkness becomes light. Be the Hero. Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles you, and be set free! ♥