“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.” James 5:16
I suspect that most people do not understand the power of confession. We would rather carry around our guilt, keeping it hidden from everyone, than to admit our guilt to anyone. When the unconfessed guilt has weakened and sickened us, we would still rather pay someone to listen to us, who we will never see again, than to confess to a family member or friend.
The Psalmist expresses it this way. “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer (Psalm 32:3-4).”
James tells us in our opening text that healing will not come until we confess it to someone and pray together about it. Do you remember when your children were young and they would confess things to you they had done? After praying together you celebrated the confession and rejoiced with a strengthened bond of love and new joy. Why do we delay the healing process? Why do we prolong the suffering?
Relationships change between parents and children as we all grow older. Old un-confessed sins of the parent, or of the child, or both, may still gnaw at us and may be the reason for today’s emotional and physical pain. But now, it is more difficult than ever to confess the wrong.
Is it possible that your parent or your child needs to confess a wrong? Perhaps either the adult child or the ageing parent could help the other with a simple question offered carefully and lovingly. “Is there anything you always wanted to tell me that you haven’t been able to tell?” Or, “Is there anything in our past that still troubles you today?” If confession comes, take it together to God in prayer, and be prepared to be as full of grace and forgiveness as God always is. Let the healing begin.