There is a great danger associated with unconfessed sin. That danger is sickness. Yes, bodily sickness – and sickness of the soul as I will later show.
It will be easier for all of us to agree that it is dangerous to refuse to confess sins to God. But as I’m finding out, it could be even equally dangerous to refuse to confess trespasses to co-humans where the wrong that has been done affects them or is capable of affecting them later on. This itself could prevent bodily healing as James 5:16 suggests.
When I first stumbled on this idea in James 5:16, I initially struggled with it but as I studied the subject more closely, I found its truth established in different portions of scripture.
In James 5:13-16, the subject bordered on how to obtain bodily healing if sick. Call for the elders of the church to pray and anoint with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick. And if he has committed SINS, they shall be forgiven him.
Then the next verse, Vs 16, reads:
“Confess your TRESPASSES (faults) one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
In verse fifteen, the word sin is translated from the Greek word “harmatia.” This word means “to sin.” It covers any type of sin.
In verse sixteen, the word trespass (sin in many translations) is translated from the Greek word “paratoma.” This word is always referring to a trespass that a person commits that offends or affects another person in a negative way.
And so the trespasses that we are required to confess one to another in Vs. 16 are those wrongs that affect or are capable of affecting another person in a negative way. That other person can be our spouse or future spouse. In such situations, what the Bible is clearly saying is that confession to God is not sufficient. If you want to experience healing which could be bodily or in your soul realm, you need to confess those trespasses to your partner.
We all seem to agree that any form of infidelity (or other wrongs though not of a sexual nature but albeit serious) after marriage must be confessed to our partners.
However, many think this rule doesn’t apply to pre-marital relationships. But I disagree. Several issues (maybe not all) that some preachers are advising us not to disclose to our partners because they can’t handle it are issues that will affect our future marriage with them one way or the other.
A lady opined during our survey few weeks ago for instance that all sexual pasts affect the future and must be disclosed. I agree with her to a good extent.
A lot of couples struggle today with conception, some with even a fulfilling sexual life, some with emotional combustibility from their partner, because of issues that are traceable to the sexual or “relationship pasts” of one or two of the partners. It is worse if these issues were hid during courtship thereby robbing the other party the opportunity to count the cost and prepare ahead before entering the irreversible zone.
In any case, we are finding out that when we hide trespasses and refuse to confess them, it can prevent our healing bodily because the unconfessed sin is the reason for the sickness in the first place.
Our Lord Jesus Christ confirmed that sickness can be a consequence of personal sin after he healed the paralyzed man of 38 years at the pool of Bethesda. He told him afterwards, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” John 5:14.
We aren’t saying all sicknesses are consequences of personal sin because Jesus confirmed that in John 9:3. He stated that the man born blind wasn’t in that condition because of his sin or his parent’s sin. But at least from the combined authority of John 5:14 and James 5:16, it is clear that SOME very stubborn sicknesses are consequences of sin and unconfessed trespasses.
David further confirmed in Psalm 32:3-4 that when he refused to confess his sins to God, his body began to grow sick.
“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand [of displeasure] was heavy upon me; My energy (vitality, strength) was drained away as with the burning heat of summer. Selah.”
Psalms 32:3-4 AMP
Something important is clear from this account of David. His body wasted away through his groaning all day long. That groaning came from guilt as the revelation of the righteousness of God was being flashed in his heart. So, guilt is always the price you pay when you hide sins and trespasses. And guilt is like cancer cells. It ravages not just your soul but gradually finds its way out to the body and destroys its vitality and strength.
I want you to check it. This your sickness that has defied all possible solutions; your inability to conceive since you got married; this multiple miscarriages and all other problems that your matrimony has encountered; could it be because of matters that you are hiding and haven’t confessed to God and your partner?
Are you in courtship and you are hiding issues that you ought to open up about thereby keeping your partner through deception and dishonesty?
Repent today and you will find healing. God whom you’re honouring by your repentance will take care of whatever consequences you’re afraid such openness will bring. Just obey God.
Confess your fault one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
The discussion regarding dealing with the past continues next week.
Peniela Eniayo Akintujoye.
©Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye| firstname.lastname@example.org
Image caption: Funso and Modupe Ajiboye.