Is this you? You ask God to forgive you for a wrong doing. You are still feeling guilty, so you ask God again for forgiveness. You do this over and over, hoping the feeling will go away. I know I have done this a many occasions. I forget this important and difficult piece to moving forward. It comes from James, and I was reminded about it from Pastor Rick Warren this week.
16 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 (NIV).
When I have something weighing on me, confessing to God is not enough. I will usually have this nudging to tell someone else. That someone else is usually my husband. I am grateful to have a few close friends and sisters who I can also share my warts and failures with.
But, why would I do this? We are so conditioned to not let anyone else know our imperfections. The truth is none of us are perfect, and pretending we are only makes us sick. Rick Warren puts it, “Talk or your body will react.” This is so true. Holding on to the guilt puts measurable stress on the body that can result in illness and chronic disease.
The instruction we get from James is critical. When we are feeling guilty we need to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other. It works. Try it. The key is having people in your life who you will let speak truth in love and Christ to you, and you will receive it. These are people who know your imperfections and love you anyway. As soon as we share our sin, a weight is lifted. For me, I feel freed from the situation. I feel lighter and ready to move on. I am no longer feeling guilty, and my sin is healed.
So, how did I find people who I feel safe enough to share my deepest and darkest moments with? Well, that usually takes time. If you have a spouse, that needs to be one of those people. If it’s not, you have work to do. Developing that is critical to the long-term health of you marriage. Not all friends fit in this category. Being in a small group centered around accountability and prayer is a great way to develop these relationships.
This is work worth doing. Feeling guilty is a burden on our hearts and bodies. Can you imagine the relief you will feel once it’s gone. It’s scary to be vulnerable with others. It takes courage to share. Once you experience the healing that comes from sharing, you won’t want to go back. Every time I have sin to confess, it is hard. I, initially, don’t want to do it. Then I realize I don’t want to carry this icky feeling around and longer, and I choose to move forward.
Are you feeling guilty? Do you have someone in your life you can share with? Now is the time. The healing you will experience it vital. Share your success stories here so we can heal and move forward together.