Grieving NOT Glorifying
Thursday - March 25th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 5:13-20
Confess your sins to each other....
As a teenager, I attended a week at a Christian camp each summer. One night during a worship service, a senior in her last year of camp got up to share a testimony. Her testimony started as a fairly typical one for a high school camp setting. Then she started confessing her sins. I mean, CONFESSING her sins!
She felt convicted to share the kinds of things she had gotten into since we had all been at camp a year earlier. At first, she described typical high school stuff like talking back to her parents and succumbing to peer pressure. But then she started in on her dating life.
She began to share in explicit detail what she and her boyfriend had done that would be inappropriate or wrong for a follower of Christ. The details she shared and how she talked about specific times their relationship got physically intimate caused many in the chapel to blush. Of course, others were caught up so much in the story they began to struggle with lust right then and there. To this day, I wonder why no one in leadership interrupted her or even tried to shape what she was saying. What started as a rated PG testimony quickly became rated PG-13 - and even R at times.
Her confession made sin sound good. She kept saying how great it felt to get out the details of her sin. Two or three times as she shared her testimony, she mentioned James 5:16 and how it commanded us to confess our sins to each other. She apologized for the intimate and tantalizing details but said she needed to confess all of her sins and their details to obey the verse in James completely.
Even as a teenager, I knew her testimony had become an avenue to glorify her sin rather than confess and grieve it. She found a sense of power telling us about the intimate sexual relationship she and her boyfriend shared. She loved the attention.
James does indeed command us to confess our sins to each other. We certainly should obey that command. But we should do it humbly, privately, and appropriately (Psalm 32:1-5). Confession should cause the one admitting their wrong to sense a level of accountability to others as they battle the temptation in the future. None of these qualities marked the testimony I heard in that camp chapel.
Are you holding onto sin you need to confess to the Lord and others? Has God convicted and humbled you over it? Yes, there is something healthy about admitting to other brothers and sisters in Christ that we have erred and need to walk in righteousness again. When the confession is made to a handful of mature believers, both the one confessing and those to whom they confess should grieve over the sin, not glorify it.
Do you grieve over your sin? Do you grieve over the sin of others as they confess their sins to you? Do you seek to walk forward in righteousness rather than linger in the details of your waywardness?
Confession of our sins to each other should cause us all to grieve over sin, not glorify it!