Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
In this verse, James calls Christian disciples in community to be accountable to one another, confessing sin to another. He expects this intimacy that allows them to be exposed and vulnerable to one another. There are at least three benefits to this practice.
First, the confessor allows themselves to unburden by sharing it with another. Often this provides catharsis as it forces the confessor to name and claim their sin, thus helping them recognize it before it happens again, possibly stopping it from recurring and creating a template for change. Note: It may take many cycles before an actual behavioral pattern develops.
Second, the one receiving the burden now knows how to pray for the confessor. It allows them to love and help (offer accountability) the confessor along this journey, thus providing gentle discipline to foster healthy habits. This behavior also feeds back into the catharsis of the confessor but may also offer self-awareness within the receiver. Note: This requires love, gentleness, and confidentiality.
Finally, and most importantly, if done well, this practice can foster an even deeper relationship of trust and love between the two, thus fostering a Christian community. And when this happens, it also promotes a deeper relationship with our LORD.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”(John 15:12
Do you have a Christian accountability partner so that you can help each other along the journey? If not, find another HitchHiker to share the journey to pursue a deeper relationship with one another and 42.