For every summer that I participated in a summer mission trip, one of the summer requirements was to learn a set of 40 Bible verses. One of those verses was James 5:16.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Yeeeeeah. We had to memorize the King James Version. The English Standard Version of that same verse reads, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Earlier this year I had a tattoo consultation with my bud, Jason, at Body Art Tattoo Studio in Berryville, Virginia. I find that the lessons I have come to learn from this verse are so profound that it’s worth inking on my skin for the sake of remembrance:
Confess. Admit. Faults. Mistakes. Sins. Share them. Expose them. Hold them out from the darkness into the light for someone else to know, to hear, to comprehend and understand. Wow! Until recently, the last thing that I’d ever want to do was to admit the hidden secrets that I had in my heart. You know what those secrets feel like, right? The secrets that you never utter? The ones that make you want to curl your knees up to your chest and hold onto yourself tightly? The secrets that produce feelings of shame? Feelings of guilt? Feelings of regret? And fear to expose them?
Confess your faults… one to another…
It doesn’t say, “Confess your faults all by yourself in a quiet room.” It says, “…one to another…” So I did. I wrote out my deepest hurts, my longest kept secrets and the sources of my quiet shame; and then I read them to a handful of my closest friends. Not even my closest friends had been privy to this information… for years!
And pray one for another…
There is a difference between venting and confessing, sharing and confessing, comforting and confessing. Pray. One for another. I didn’t need my girlfriends to tell me it was going to “be all right”. I needed my girlfriends to pray with me and pray for me. Cause when you’re at rock bottom, only Christ is sufficient to redeem what’s been lost.
And pray one for another,… that ye may be healed.
Healed. Oh, what a wonderful word. In meditating on this passage, it suddenly hit me that this wasn’t strictly a healing in the physical sense. No, this was a healing in the spiritual sense, a healing in the emotional sense, a healing of the heart. Grief and shame that I had quietly tucked away for years was now no longer suffering my soul. I had been healed.
But none of that would have happened if I hadn’t confessed. It’s what helped me to “break the spell”.
Oh, how I delight in airing my weaknesses! While I might not be admired by the majority, I am free from the bondage of false appearances. My only boast is in Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:28-31 “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even the things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ”
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