Repentance

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14

Out of Hiding … into Authentic Community

by
Scott Benson

Ask God to speak as you interact with today's Scripture and devotional.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” - James 5:16

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” - Proverbs 28:13

It’s so easy to allow the shame and guilt associated with our sin to drive us into hiding. Out of fear of embarrassment or judgment, we silently bear the weight of our sin, all alone. And that’s exactly how Satan wants us to feel — isolated and afraid. But as Dallas Willard reminds us, confession to others is a gateway to spiritual healing in our lives. Willard notes the power of communal confession: 

Confession is a discipline that functions within fellowship. In it we let trusted others know our deepest weaknesses and failures. This will nourish our faith in God's provision for our needs through his people, our sense of being loved, and our humility before our brothers and sisters. Thus, we let some friends in Christ know who we really are, not holding back anything important, but, ideally, allowing complete transparency. We lay down the burden of hiding and pretending, which normally takes up such a dreadful amount of human energy. We engage and are engaged by others in the most profound depths of the soul.… But confession also helps us to avoid sin.… Persisting in sin within a close community … (in) the fellowship of a transparent body of Christ is unsupportable unless it is hidden.… Nothing is more supportive of right behavior than open truth. And the bearing of the soul to a mature friend in Christ ... enables such friends to pray for specific problems and to do those things they may be most helpful and redemptive to the one confessing. Confession alone makes deep fellowship possible, and the lack of it explains much of the superficial quality so commonly found in our church associations. What, though, makes confession bearable? Fellowship. (Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, p. 187-188)

reflect

Answer the questions below and write down any other thoughts and prayers to God in your Life in Rhythm journal.

  1. What is your greatest fear in confessing sin to others?  
  2. How does being able to “lay down the burden of hiding and pretending” motivate you to confess? 
  3. When you’ve confessed to others, how did you experience their grace and support?  
  4. How has confession empowered you to turn away from sinful patterns in your life?  
  5. Do you need to confess something to someone? Who is that person and how will you do that?

Go deeper (optional)

Every day you'll have an opportunity to "go deeper" into God's Word by practicing the REAP study method. Read the following scripture and use your journal and the REAP method to unpack the following scripture and apply it to your life.

John 14:15-16, John 16:7-10
Learn more about reap