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
I have read this verse during the week, and I have not stopped thinking about it since. It has got my mind going. This verse made me think of accountability, our feelings, and our conscience. Not necessarily in that order either.
What sin are you struggling with at the moment? Is it a sin that the Holy Spirit recently opened your eyes to? Is it a habitual sin? Maybe it is a sin that has caused you to backslide?
I have always been told (and at times have experienced) that it can be a life-changer to share these sins with another, to have someone in your life that is an accountability partner. But maybe you are like me most of the time? I do not share about the sins I struggle with (not all the time, anyway), and when I do, I become very vague about them. So as not to come straight out and say what I am struggling with. I do this because my feelings get in the way.
Do you know what my feelings sometimes entail? Sometimes I feel like others will judge me, look down on me, find me disgusting, want nothing to do with me. They will pity me, not want to help me, or will push me away. I feel like I will be rejected and seen in a different light if I tell another my sins. It stems from my guilty conscience.
I know that the things I struggle with are wrong. I should know better than to be struggling with them. This at times leads me to believe that I need to correct these sins, relying on no one else. Maybe you understand this… Maybe you have been in my shoes? But here is the thing:
Sinful deeds are more than just wrongful actions.
Strangely enough, sinful deeds can also be our attempts to reach God by trying to be good enough. It is a self-efforted dead work in my eyes. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “If I can just overcome this one sin in my life, I can finally be good enough to go to God without feeling guilty.” It is like I have to get rid of sin and guilt to approach God. But I have to remind myself. Christ died for all of my sins; past, present, and future. Because let’s be real, I am flawed, and He is not.
It is a continual daily process for me, but I have to remind myself of what Christ did. I have to accept His sacrifice for my sins. I am putting into practice abandoning the futility of my sinful deeds, dead works, and self-effort. And you know what? It brings me to God. The blood of Christ purifies my conscience and I go to God in prayer.
Now, I admit, sometimes when confessing a private sin to God, I do not feel the forgiveness. Even though it is there. This is where it can be useful to have an accountability partner, someone righteous to lend a prayer. And no, righteous does not mean someone who is without sin. It means someone who has confessed their sins and is also in a right relationship with God. They can help you receive the assurance of God’s pardon. An accountability partner can also help you avoid sinful behaviors that you may deal with.
Let me not forget, as well as remind you: Not one of us is sinless. We all have something we are struggling with. And if there is someone in your life you are willing to lovingly support no matter the issue/struggle/sin, odds are they feel the same about you as well. Find yourself an accountability partner, you can’t go at this alone. I know I can’t.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds, you have been healed1 Peter 2:24