By John Lee
Confessing sin is always awkward but it’s worth it. Here’s why.
I sat alone in the church for 15 minutes. The acquaintance who had invited me was nowhere to be found. Finally, he walked in with his fiancée. In jest, I told him he was a bad example of what a godly church member should be.
“Yeah, my fiancée and I had a huge fight,” he said. “I’ll tell you about it later.”
I felt the blood drain from my face. I barely knew him! Why was he being so vulnerable?
CONFESSING SIN IS NOT ABOUT UPHOLDING A REPUTATION
Growing up in a traditional Asian American church, I was taught the importance of reputation. I was told to avoid confessing struggles and sins. Because my dad was respected in church ministry, if I shared my sins with others, it would taint my parents’ image. So I struggled with lust, pride, and depression—alone.
One of the most effective yet elusive methods of destroying a man is to turn him into a hypocrite. It’s easy to see the vileness of a murderer, adulterer, or demon-worshipper. But hypocrisy is a silent killer. Many Christians claim to be willing to lose their lives but can’t risk their own reputations. We’re more preoccupied with others thinking we’re like Christ than actually being like him. The irony is that God sees us exactly as we are. He sees the comprehensive depravity of our sins, even the ones we rationalize away.
Reputation is a dam that blocks living water from flowing into our souls. It keeps us from confessing our sins. But in Christ, God has been gracious to us, which means we don’t have to prove ourselves. His throne of judgment has turned into a throne of grace! We can boldly look at the holy, righteous God and run to him in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14–16).
Nonetheless, confessing sin to one another is hard. But we must remember two things: Scripture instructs us, and God’s grace helps us. Consider these words from James: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (5:16).
Consistent Christian living consists of confessing sin consistently. So how do we get better at this distinctly Christian practice?
1. Confess to your fellow church members.
God has designed the church to be a community that’s committed to one another: “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:24–25).
Committed churchgoers have a mutual responsibility for one another’s relationship with Jesus. When this responsibility is made explicit through church membership, the church grows into deep covenant community.
If you’re a member of a church, then that church is stuck with you, warts and all! And you’re committed to them as well. Your primary accountability is not with a parachurch group or a godly mentor but with the church body. This kind of relationship enables confession.
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Source: Church Leaders