“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:20-21 NIV)
Our sin hides in the darkness and whispers to us that it should remain unknown. And when we keep it in the darkness, it spreads within us like a toxin, eventually seeping into our fellowship with each other.
The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation.”
This is why Jesus calls us to confess our sins to one another. It allows the light of the Gospel to enter the darkness and seclusion of the heart. By confessing our sin in the presence of another, our self-justification crumbles away and our sin loses its power over us — and the community.
We are no longer alone in our sin, and those in our fellowship can now bear the sin with us, strengthening us when we face temptation and helping us to see that our sin reveals a place where we still do not trust God.
Each one of us must remember that we belong to a fellowship of sinners who live within the grace of God, so we need not fear confession because it brings us back into alignment with God. In a community submitted to Jesus, our confession should bring us into greater intimacy with each other. How does it do that?
- Confession deepens our relationships, allowing us to be transparent with one another (Proverbs 24:26).
- Confession keeps our fellowship open and authentic, freeing us to speak the truth in love as we practice remarkable integrity (Ephesians 4:15; Titus 2:7).
- Confession keeps us sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and helps us battle deceptions that corrupt our lives in Christ (John 16:13; 2 Corinthians 10:5).