men stand and talk

There's a right way and a wrong way to spill your guts. Here are some guidelines about biblical confession.

In a rush to unburden his heart, John released a torrent of painful information to his wife. JoAnn, deeply wounded and betrayed, exploded and ran from the room sobbing, "I never want to see you again!"

Confessing sins, especially when they involve broken covenant or violated trust, can be very devastating to the person hearing the information for the first time. There is no clear scriptural procedure to lead us through this dangerous minefield. But there are some principles that will help in the process.

Be honest with yourself. Have you yourself acknowledged your sin? Pastoral counselor David Seamands says you cannot confess to God what you will not first admit to yourself.

Scrutinize your motives. Ensure that by the grace of God you are sincerely humbling yourself. Make sure you are not engaging in a blame game, shifting responsibility for your behavior to someone else's failure. ("I'm sorry I did this, but you never ... .")

Ask God for wisdom. He stands ready to give it. We have His promise in James 1:5: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" (NIV).

Consider the "load." Bible teacher Jack Frost says you should never drive a 10-ton truck over a 5-ton bridge. Is the person you're confessing to strong enough to bear the weight of what you are about to disclose?

Seek godly counsel. If you think you need this, get it first. A trusted pastor or experienced counselor can be enlisted to hear your confession and advise you how to approach the one you have wronged.

An excellent secular book that deals with this subject is Disclosing Secrets: When, to Whom, and How Much to Reveal (Gentle Path Press). The authors, Deborah Corley and Jennifer Schneider, have researched the effects of disclosure on relationships.

They write: "Despite the sense of pain and loss, enough good had come out of the process that the majority said they would recommend disclosure to other couples."

Harvey Brown Jr. is president of Impact Ministries in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is featured on a new DVD, Living in the Freedom Christ Gives: Finding Healing and Wholeness in a Sexually Broken World. It is available at

Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.

Get to know the Holy Spirit and how to interact with Him on a daily basis. Learn to enter God's presence and hear His voice clearly for yourself! Go deeper in your faith with Life in the Spirit and change your life and destiny. Are you ready to start your journey?

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • There are some ways the Holy Spirit will never lead you.

    4 Ways the Holy Spirit Does Not Lead You—and 1 Big Danger

    Wrong teaching, ignorance, laziness and a failure of the five-fold to equip the saints for the work ...

  • Chuck Pierce

    Prophetic Word: 'The Winds of Heaven Are Now Entering the Earth'

    Chuck Pierce says we need to brace ourselves.

  • What if You Could Save $500 This Week?

    What if You Could Save $500 This Week?

    Start saving for emergencies today with the $500 Savings Challenge by brightpeak financial. It's chock-full of inspiration, great savings tips and the motivation to make a dent in your savings—for real! Go to to sign up!

  • Lee's ministry photo

    10 Ways to Pray for a Troubled America

    God is always willing to rescue His people if they pray.

  • Hillary Clinton

    What if Hillary Clinton Wins the White House?

    Polls have Mrs. Clinton leading by 11 points. The church must be prepared.

  • Low-Rate Church Loans Available!

    Low-Rate Church Loans Available!

    Whether it's purchasing a property, remodeling or refinancing, Christian Community Credit Union has a loan package that's customized for your budget and situation.

  • Holy Spirit prophetic

    7 Ways to Cultivate Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

    Too many of God's people are led by fear, doubt, man-pleasing, presumption, assumption, idols ...

  • God doesn't usually shout, so you should listen carefully.

    What Happens When You Actually Listen to God

    It will surprise—and most likely shock—you.

  • Is there any unconfessed sin in your life?

    Scripture Says Pain, Health and Sin Share This Unexpected Connection

    If you're experiencing chronic pain, this may offer you the answer you need.

  • Guarding the gates of your heart will keep the demonic and evil out of your life.

    Keep the Demonic Out of Your Life With This Oft-Overlooked Spiritual Warfare Strategy

    The enemy knows his limitations. Limit him.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit