Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be
healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
We have all heard the saying 'confession is good for the soul', which is an old Scottish Proverb, that according to at least one source, is actual missing the word "open" at the beginning of the proverb. In other words it actual reads, "Open confession is good for the soul". While that may seem like a unimportant distinction to you, I find it to be most important and hope you will agree by the end of this article.
The word confess in the Hebrew is; yâdâh, (yaw-daw'). It means literally to use (that is, hold out) the hand; physically to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); intensively to bemoan (by wringing the hands): - cast (out), (make) confess (-ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank (-ful, -s, -sgiving).
The Greek word which is used in the above passage is; exomologeō, (ex-om-ol-og-eh'-o) means to acknowledge or (by implication of assent) agree fully: - confess, profess, promise.
When we first come to Jesus, we of our own free will ... must confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, (Romans 10:9) and believe in our heart He is alive. When you do this you are acknowledging and agreeing fully that you are now a member of the New Covenant with God and making a vow to be held to it's terms and are doing so openly in public.
The Greek word in Romans 10:9 is slightly different than the word in the passage in James, it is; homologeō, (hom-ol-og-eh'-o) to assent, that is, covenant, acknowledge: - con- (pro-) fess, confession is made, give thanks, promise. You can certainly see the difference yet these two words are related and homologeo is one of the root words that exomologeo is made of, (the other word 'ex" means primary or origin).
One of the primary complaints about Christians and one of the main reasons most non believers (and many believers) want nothing to do with the church is because the un-churched do not see Christ living in us. We still cheat and steal, we still lie and gossip. We still lust and flirt and cheat our spouses. We still get angry, judge and voice outrage at people. This most certainly does not sound like we are following our Lords command of "Love one other as I have Loved you",(John 13:34).
When a member of the church is confronted by another member or one of the clergy in regards to a continued and reoccurring sinful behavior, ( In a scriptural way, sorry cant find the reference right now) the response is seldom one of humility and grace but is usually one of pride, arrogance and offense. In short we have not accepted the healing the Holy Spirit has offered at the time of conversion, And according to this passage in James the reason is simple, We have not confessed our faults to one another so we can pray for each other and be healed of our faults.
The word in this passage translated as "faults" (sometimes as sin) is also interesting;
a side slip (lapse or deviation), that is, (unintentional) error or (wilful) transgression: - fall, fault, offence, sin, trespass.
What James seems to be saying is if I confess to my brothers that I failed to live up to Christs standards then they can pray with me for the healing of the fault within me that caused the error. Healing is not always physical.
One more reason for verbalizing our faults to a brother (or sister) in the Lord is that we often lie to ourselves and will justify our behavior to our-self so we may not be making a confession to our Lord but instead giving excuses, a brother or sister can call us on that if we are willing to remain humble.
I'll be the first to admit that it is hard to open our mouths and confess faults to another human being and I sure wouldn't recommend you do it with just anyone, some folks faults may cause you greater problems than your own faults, but find a trusted close mouthed person and confess.
Yes it's true, Open confession is good for the soul.
And while I am speaking of confession I will confess that I want you to check out and maybe even buy my books. You can find the Here: Books by Leslie R Auger