I'm amazed at how many Christians, after a while, forget that they still sin regularly, even daily. I'm a sinner who was saved. I am still sinning, I hope less each year, but I still sin.
In the Scriptures, James is clear on what to do with sin: confess it to each other. Notice James wasn't highlighting confessing it to Jesus; he is focused on confessing it to each other. Also, notice James isn't making this optional, but rather, he commands us to confess our sins to each other.
Why are we being commanded to confess our sins to each other? James answers that question very clearly and immediately, "that you may be healed" (James 5:16b). When we humble ourselves and acknowledge our sin, even the sexual sins, we can be healed!
That's what is so exciting. It's not just sexual sin; it can be greed, gluttony, anger, over entertaining, or any other multitude of sins whatsoever. This is really good news that there is a way, not only to be forgiven, but there is a way to be healed.
There is a big difference between forgiveness and healing. This difference is why so many Christian men today are stuck. They are not confessing to each other; they are only confessing to Jesus. When you confess to Jesus, you get forgiven. When you confess to another Christian man, you get healed. Most men are forgiven. They are not healed of sexual sin, because they are not doing simply what God's Word commands, and that is confessing to their brother.
Now I know some of you are thinking, I'll just tell my wife. That's great to tell your wife, but she is not a man, and you are putting her in a place she isn't designed for. She may not understand, and you know she won't ask you the same questions a man would. Confessing to another man takes real testosterone, and you and I both know that, so don't take a shortcut. Men make men.
What's interesting to me is that James puts the responsibility of confessing on the person who sins. It's not your pastor's job, your wife's job or even your accountability partner's job to ask you or dig it out of you. You, as a man, are to bring it forth and confess it openly to your brothers.
When you keep your sin to yourself, it is flat-out disobedience. Remember another Scripture, James 4:17, "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, it is sin." It's flat-out disobedience if you sin sexually and don't confess it to another man. That's why so many men are stuck.
Why do they stay stuck? It's because of pride, plain and simple. We don't want anyone thinking less of us, so we keep our secrets to ourselves. This pride is a guarantee to stay sick. Let's take James 5:16 and put everything in reverse for a minute. In reverse, this Scripture might read, "Don't confess your sin to each other so that you are guaranteed to stay sick and your prayers won't go far."
That would stink, right? Absolutely, that would not be the way to go, but I can tell you this is the plan of most men in the church regarding their sexual sins. They don't confess, they don't get better, and they wonder why they are not growing spiritually.
Just take a moment here; outside of maybe praying with guys during the altar call, when was the last time you had a Christian brother come up to you and say, "John, I need to tell you I lusted, looked at porn, masturbated to lustful images, flirted outside of my marriage, cheated on my wife or went to an adult bookstore? For most of us, this has never occurred, and yet at least half of the men are sexually sinning regularly in the church. You can be absolutely forgiven by Jesus and absolutely not healed, if you and I are not confessing our sexual sins to each other.
Now, I don't believe James means we need to confess to every man, just another man. The guys who are in Freedom Groups (Christian sex addiction recovery groups) of some kind, practice these principles regularly and are probably some of the cleanest and most honest men sexually in the church.
If you're not in such a group, you can find a man you trust to keep your confidence. There are many men in any church you could be honest with if you needed to. I'm strongly suggesting you need to, if you ever hope to be clean. I would even go so far as to say, if you are not willing to humble yourself to another man regularly, as I did, you will not get clean.
You will try again, and again, by yourself through sheer will power to stop again, but you will fail again, and stop again, and fail again. If that has been your pattern for years or decades, stop the pride; that's why you are not getting healed. To heal and get clean from sexual sin for your entire life, you must confess to another man.
If you are unwilling to do this ongoing confession, and not just one time at a men's conference, you will continue to be sexually sick and saved. However, you do run the risk of your behavior going further than you currently believe you will go. You do run the risk of hurting your wife, future wife, children or parents when this behavior does come to light.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, Clean. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at [email protected].
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