Confess Your Sins to One Another
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:13-18).
Within this passage of scripture, we find two one another admonitions. Though they are closely linked they need to be explored separately.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Un-confessed sin erects two barriers, one between God and man and the other between man and man.
Of the barrier between God and man, the psalmist wrote, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18). From The Message, translated by Eugene Peterson we read, “If I have been cozy with evil, the Lord will not listen.”
The words of James are in keeping with the teachings of the Rabbis of his day. They taught that to find cures for the ills of life one needs to be right with God and right with their fellow man.
If a brother has been wronged, offended, or hurt by something we have done, our confession of such sin is not complete until we have personally confessed to the one we have wronged.
Listen to the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matthew 5:23 & 24).
As important as worship is to our God, He says that he will not receive it if we have unresolved differences with another.