Confession opens the door to restoration.
I spent a lot of time last night plunging the toilet trying to get it to flow. I thought I got it working but then right away this morning it began acting up again. After much plunging, finally Paul brought in a "snake". Then my four year old came in and began questioning what Daddy was doing. After I explained what was happening he looked up at me and said, "Mama, I have a secret". He then confessed that last night he'd "accidentally" dropped some Connects toys into it. Six of them! Suddenly the mystery was solved and we now have a better idea about what to do to fix the problem. But until his confession was made we had no idea what was causing things to go wrong.
James 5:16 "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 know there is no direct correlation between my morning plunging and this verse. But it just stood out to me that when people hold on to unconfessed sin, problems and strongholds remain a mystery and become greater burdens than necessary. And we find ourselves as the Body of Christ, scratching our heads about these mysteries, because no matter what we try to do to fix some problems they remain an issue.
Why is the divorce rate is so high among us? Why is there such a lack of unity among us? Why are our children leaving the faith when they leave home for college? These are just some of the mysteries we grapple with in the church. Yet quite possibly the answer lies in confession and our lack of it.
For example, anger. It is much easier to stuff it down and deny it's there than it is to confess it. After all, isn't admitting you're angry like admitting your not a good person or admitting that you are the reason for the problem? Christians aren't supposed to be angry, right??? So if someone sins against me, and I get angry...I'm the problem, not the one who sinned against me...right? Wrong.
"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." Eph. 4:26
Having the emotion of anger is not an indication of a lack of Christian virtue. It means you are human and respond with the emotions God created within you. Yet like anything else our emotions are subject to the fall, and dealing with it improperly can lead to sin.
We were told not to let the sun go down on our anger. If confession and openness were practiced, anger would be expressed and dealt with swiftly and bitterness would have no chance to take root. Unconfessed anger becomes bitterness and leads to unforgiveness and sometimes even hatred, which Jesus equated to murder. We loose friends, spouses, family and neighbors all to anger...and our refusal to deal with it. When left unchecked, it grows and eventually becomes so prevalent in our lives that we can no longer contain it, and before we know it, the monster we've allowed to take root within us is out of control, leaving us incapable of responding to each other as Christ would have us. Our love grows cold, and we give ourselves over to the way that seems easiest, which is to walk away.
Confession is good and makes way for restoration and healing. It doesn't only apply to anger. If there is a stronghold in your life, you may want to consider confiding in a trusted friend, pastor or spiritual mentor, and have them pray over you. You may find that it will reveal the mystery of the source of your struggle with sin and give you the upper hand in overcoming it.