Principle 4: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
“Happy are the pure in heart.” (Matthew 5:8)
Step 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
This month we are going to focus on confessing (admitting) our sins, all the dark secrets of our past, to another person.
We have all heard that the wages of sin is death, but you may not have heard that the wages of sin are never frozen or that they are never subject to income taxes. One of the main reasons for that is because most of the wages of sin go unreported! And, by the way, if the wages of sin is death, shouldn’t you quit before payday?
Why Admit My Wrongs?
All joking aside, this part of Principle 4 is often difficult for people. I am often asked, “Why do I have to admit my wrongs to another?”
Many of us have been keeping secrets almost all of our lives. Every day those secrets take a toll on us. The toll we pay is loss of self-respect and energy as well as bondage to old codependent habits. Admitting —out loud —those secrets strips them of their power. They lose much of their hold on us when they are spoken.
Still, we are afraid to reveal our secrets to another person, even someone we trust. We somehow feel as if we have everything to lose and nothing to gain. I want you to hear the truth. Do you know what we really have to lose by telling our secrets and sins to another?
We lose our sense of isolation. Somebody is going to come along side of us. Our sense of aloneness will begin to vanish.
We will begin to lose our unwillingness to forgive. When people accept and forgive us, we start to see that we can forgive others.
We will lose our inflated, false pride. As we see and accept who we are, we begin to gain true humility, which involves seeing ourselves as we really are and seeing God as He really is.
We will lose our sense of denial. Being truthful with another person will tear away our denial. We begin to feel clean and honest.
Now that you know what you have to lose when you admit your wrongs to another, let me tell you three benefits you will gain.
We gain healing that the Bible promises. Look at James 5:16 again: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” The key word here is healed. The verse doesn’t say, “Confess your sins to one another and you will be forgiven.” God forgave you when you confessed your sins to Him. Now He says you will begin the healing process when you confess your sins to another.
We gain freedom. Our secrets have kept us in chains — bound, frozen, unable to move forward in any of our relationships with God and others. Admitting our sins snaps the chains so God’s healing power can start. “They cried to the Lord in their troubles, and he rescued them! He led them from the darkness and the shadow of death and snapped their chains” (Psalm107:13 – 14, TLB).