Why isn't it okay to keep our private struggles, well, private?
I like to look at hidden sin like food. Let's say a piece of fruit, just for kicks. If you have an apple or an orange hidden away in the dark, what happens? Mmmm-hmmmm. The smell. That fruit rots and grows mould and it stinks! The smell of that hidden piece of fruit will eventually give itself away.
The enemy wants us to believe that we will be judged by others if we dared to speak out about our temptations. And he has been busy for years making us a prideful people, so that the last thing we believe we can handle is being publicly humbled. Pride and fear hold us hostage to our secrets, and they remain in the dark. That is, until they give themselves away.
Isn't it better to be open and honest with one another about how we fall short, rather than to pretend we have it all together only to be exposed eventually anyway? And who are we hiding from? Others? Ourselves? God?
He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.
~1 Corinthians 4:5
He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him.
~ Daniel 2:22
What good can possibly come from us confessing to one another?
Jesus tells us in John 8:32 that the truth will set us free. In this situation, He is referring to knowledge of the truth (that He is the promised Messiah), but confession of the truth also brings freedom.
Alcoholics Anonymous has understood this truth since its inception. The first of their twelve steps is for the alcoholic to acknowledge that he or she is powerless over alcohol. Step five is admitting to themselves, God, and another human being the exact nature of their wrongs. Step one takes the alcoholic from a mental state of powerlessness toward a mental state of freedom. Taking the fifth step is the alcoholic's way of moving beyond the mental to the practical aspects of becoming free.
The old saying is true, "Confession is good for the soul."
Do I really need prayer and accountability?
James, a man who packs a lifetime of wisdom into five short chapters, pretty much wraps up his teaching with this, "Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (~James 5:16)
One of the wisest men to walk the earth, Solomon, is famously quoted for his advice, "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (~Ecclesiastes 4:12)
The church in Thessalonica was exhorted by Paul, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up." (~1 Thessalonians 5:11)
I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the point. We NEED one another.
Do you yell at your kids habitually? Are you powerless against the lure of pornography? Is it impossible for you to resist sharing that one juicy morsel of gossip? If you are struggling with a habitual sin your life, and you feel trapped and powerless to change, let me leave you with this:
It is not your sin that has you imprisoned, but the lies of the enemy - lies that trick you into keeping that sin hidden.
Secrets are YOUR enemy and mine.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.