Do You Want to Be Healed?
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."1
One of my favorite Bible teachers was such an inspiration to listen to. There was only one point where I disagreed with him. He taught that we need to confess our sins only to God. Wrong.
James disagreed too. True, we need to confess our sins to God but also to one another. This doesn't mean that we need to confess to the "whole world" but we do need to confess to at least one safe, trustworthy person.
A safe person is someone who, when we confess our sins and failures, won't judge, condemn, or shame us, nor tell the world of our weakness, but will love and accept us as we are—as God does.
Confession is needed for healing because unresolved guilt as well as super-charged repressed negative emotions such as resentment, anger, grief, shame, pride and so on will either cause many of our physical sicknesses or greatly aggravate them. When we confess our sins and get this poison out of our system, the way is cleared for healing. Unconfessed sin is a killer. It's like a spiritual/emotional cancer and if we don't get the "cancer" the "cancer" will get us in one way or another. It's not without good reason that God's Word teaches us to confess our sins before we even pray for healing.
Sadly, too often we are afraid to admit and confess our sins and failures for fear of being judged, criticized, or even condemned; so we keep them well hidden. Consequently, there is limited healing, for without confession there is no healing when our sicknesses are caused or affected by our unconfessed sins. It is not without good reason that the Bible also teaches: "So get rid of your feelings of hatred. Don't just pretend to be good! Be done with dishonesty and jealousy and talking about others behind their backs…. Put away all evil, deception, envy and fraud. Long to grow up into the fullness of your salvation."2
It is interesting that the Bible teacher mentioned above came down with a debilitating illness that slowly took his life—quite possibly before his time. I say this because he didn't believe in what James said we needed to do to be healed.
When any "faith healer" avoids this principle of confession before praying for healing, he may do more harm than good in the long run if a false assurance is given to the sick person. God isn't going to heal me of a sickness or problem that is a symptom of a deeper sin or fault unless I confess it and get rid of it. The mind can be very tricky. I may get rid of one symptom but, if I don't deal with the cause, I'll exchange it for another and kid myself that I've been healed!
Speaking personally, I learned early in life to repress and bury all my negative emotions but am physically healthier today than I was when half my age. I used to have terrible hay fever and had painful bursitis in both shoulders. When I got in touch with and confessed/expressed so much buried grief, hurt and anger, I was healed of both hay fever and bursitis. When I bury my grief, for instance, where do those tears go? I either express them in a healthy way (by sobbing them out) or they will affect me in an unhealthy way. The same is true of all repressed negative emotions. We either express them creatively, or we will, in some way act them out destructively.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, here's a list of sins/faults that I have never confessed to another soul. Please help me to get in touch with any and all buried negative emotions and any sins of pride, jealousy, resentment, grief and so on so I can confess and resolve these. And please help me to find a loving, safe, and accepting person to confess these to—as well as confessing them to you—so I can be healed. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. James 5:15 (NIV).
2. 1 Peter 2:1-2 (TLB)(NLT).
NOTE: Correction for yesterday's Daily Encounter. I had "Now the serpent [disguised as Satan, the devil]. It should have read, "Now the serpent [Satan, the devil, disguised as a serpent]...."