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Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
Happy are the pure in heart.
We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
This week we are going to focus on confessing (admitting) our past sins, , to another person.
We have all heard that the wages of sin is death, but you may not have heard that the wages of sin are never frozen or that they are never subject to income taxes. One of the main reasons for that is because most of the wages of sin go unreported! And, by the way, if the wages of sin is death, shouldn’t we quit before payday?
Why Admit My Wrongs?
All joking aside, this part of Principle 4 is often difficult for people. We often ask, “Why do we have to admit our wrongs to another person?”
Well, you don’t HAVE to, but let’s discuss why we might WANT to shall we….
Many of us have been keeping secrets almost all of our lives. Every day those secrets take a toll on us. The toll we pay is loss of self-respect and energy and bondage to old codependent habits. Admitting—out loud—those secrets strips them of their power. They lose much of their hold on us when they are spoken.
Still, we are afraid to reveal our secrets to another person, even someone we trust. We somehow feel like we have everything to lose and nothing to gain. I want you to hear the truth tonight.
I do feel bad for people who have done terrible things to me and have still never came to me and said hey I am sorry for what I did, I was a sick person who had been hurt in the past and never healed from it and of course hurt people hurt people and I am sorry for that. Now, its not going to hurt me if they don’t come and say sorry, but it will eat at them until they do – and its usually pride that keeps people from doing that – I feel really bad for her that she is still carrying that around because – people know what they did and they know that it was wrong, they just choose to ignore the nudging to make it right… Sad. I know what its like to go to someone and tell them how sorry I am and so on and that I am healed and so on… I still have people who are on my list that deserve this from me but for now its not safe for me to go to them, but the ones I have gone to, most have forgiven me and we are close friends now, some have chosen not to and that is on them, but at least its off my plate now and crossed off my list.
What Do We Have To Lose?
Do you know what we really have to lose by telling our secrets and sins to another?
1. We lose our sense of isolation.
Somebody is going to come down into that well we talked about two weeks ago and be alongside us. Our sense of aloneness will begin to vanish.
2. We will begin to lose our unwillingness to forgive.
When people accept and forgive us, we start to see that we can forgive others.
3. We will lose our inflated, false pride.
As we see and accept who we are, we begin to gain true humility, which involves seeing ourselves as we really are and seeing God as He really is.
4. We will lose our sense of denial.
Being truthful with another person will tear away our denial. We begin to feel clean and honest.
What Do We Have To Gain?
Now that you know what you have to lose when you admit your wrongs to another, let me tell you three benefits you will gain.
1. We gain healing that the Bible promises.
Look at James 5:16 again:
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The key word here is healed. The verse doesn’t say, “confess your sins to one another and you will be forgiven.” God forgave you when you confessed your sins to Him. Now He says you will begin the healing process when you confess your sins to another.
2. We gain freedom.
Our secrets have been kept in chains—bound, frozen, unable to move forward in any of our relationships with God and others. Admitting our sins snaps the chains so God’s healing power can start.
They cried to the Lord in their troubles, and he rescued them! He led them from the darkness and the shadow of death and snapped their chains.
Unconfessed sin, however, will fester. In Psalm 32:3–4 David tells us what happened to him when he tried to hide his sins:
When I did not confess my sins, I was worn out from crying all day long…. My strength was completely drained.
Psalm 32:3 – 4
Remember, “Openness is to wholeness as secrets are to sickness.” A wise man once said:
If you want to clear the stream, you need to get the hog out of the spring.
Admit and turn from your sins. Remember that the only sin you won’t be free of is the one that is not confessed.
3. We gain support.
When you share your inventory with another person, you get support! The person can keep you focused and provide feedback. When your old friend “denial” surfaces and you hear Satan’s list of excuses—“It’s really not that bad”; “They deserved it”; “It really wasn’t my fault”—your support person can be there to challenge you with the truth. But most of all, you need another person simply to listen to you and hear what you have to say.
How Do I Choose Someone?
Unlike little Jessica, the little girl trapped in the well, whom we talked about in Lesson 12, you can choose the person to come down into your well with you, so choose carefully! You don’t want someone to say, “You did what?” or “You shouldn’t have done that.” You don’t need a judge and jury. We already talked about the verdict.
Remember Romans 3:23–24 :
All have sinned; … yet now God declares us ‘not guilty’ … if we trust in Jesus Christ, who … freely takes away our sins.
Romans 3:23 – 24
and 1 John 1:9:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and he will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”?
1 John 1:9
You just need someone to listen. I find that it works best to choose someone who is a growing Christian and is familiar with the 8 principles or the 12 Steps.
1. Choose someone of the same sex as you whom you trust and respect.
2. Ask the person if he or she has completed Principle 4 or Steps 4 and 5.
The process should go more smoothly if the person is familiar with what you are doing. He or she will also have a sense of empathy, and if the person can share personal experiences, you will have a healthy exchange.
3. Set an appointment with the person, a time without interruptions.
Get away from the telephones, kids, all interruptions for at least two hours. I have heard of some inventories that have taken eight hours to share. That’s perhaps a little dramatic but you are going to want to put some time into this.
Guidelines for Your Meeting
1. Start with prayer.
Ask for courage, humility, and honesty
2. Read the Principle 4 verses found in Participant’s Guide 3.
3. Keep your sharing balanced—weaknesses and strengths!
4. End in prayer.
Thank God for the tools He has given to you and for the complete freedom found in Christ!
Benefits of admitting wrongs or past secrets:
- Release of the stress and tension of holding it in
- Its no longer holding you hostage
- Prevents things from spiraling out of control
- What’s done in the darkness comes out in the light eventually, do you want to do it yourself or would you rather it come out at some point when you are not ready for it – It loses all power over you once you expose it
- One day you will be able to sit with someone who needs to admit their “stuff” and you can share some of your experience / strength and hope with them!