James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” NIV
It is interesting to notice that James encourages us here to confess our sins to one another and then to pray for healing. Healing cannot occur without the confession of our hidden sins.
Please do remember though that we should never assume that someone is sick because of his sins (read our study about Where Does Sickness Come From?) God’s Word clearly points out that sickness is not always caused by our sins.
Unwillingness to confess sins will hinder the healing process of that person. Here is a true story shared by Chuck Swindoll that illustrates this very well.
“A couple had become estranged. They couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment their relationship had broken down, but over the years, they had drifted apart until they were strangers-and enemies-in the same house. Humanely speaking, reconciliation was impossible. Too many feelings had been hurt. Too many harsh words had been said. Love had long ago been replaced by hatred.
Over time, the woman began to suffer from intense, chronic back pain, which escalated to the point that she was finally hospitalized. When a group of elders from her church went to visit her, her neck and back was so still that she couldn’t even turn her head. Tears of pain poured down her cheeks as they knelt around her bed and placed their hands on her. During his prayer, one of the elders became inspired to quote parts of James 5. “Lord,” he said, graciously and quietly, “if there be anything in this woman’s life that may not be right, if maybe there might be some barrier, some sinfulness, we pray that you will bring it to her attention and give her the honesty and vulnerability to confess it.”
“Stop, stop!” she cried.
The elders looked up, amazed.
“All of you, stand up!”
“You need to know that I used to live a double life,” she confessed. Her tears flowed freely as she described her immoral background. Then she finished by admitting that she had never told anyone, not even her husband, and she had never brought it before the Lord.
Just then her husband entered the room. She looked up and began pouring out her heart to him. She told him everything, and in the end, he took her in his arms and forgave her.
What happened next was incredible. This lady, whose pain was so intense she couldn’t even move her head, jumped out of bed and hugged everyone. The pain was completely gone!”
Based on a sermon from Chuck Swindoll. See Confession)
Be careful though! 1 John 3:21-22 “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” NIV Do not dig into your past to dig out sins that have already been forgiven. Depend on God’s Holy Spirit to reveal your sins.
Also we who are bystranders, let us not assume that this person is not healed because of unforgiven sins. We should be concerned of our own sins, not theirs. Soon you may join that person as a bedfellow!