“Confess your sins to one another…” This phrase kept repeating in my mind recently. Why? It’s because I did it. How was it? I broke out in cold sweat. Why? Because I did it with a group of strangers. Oh, but not really… they are my BSF co-group-leaders BUT I’ve only been with them only for the last couple of months.
So now let’s check out where this phrase (command) came from.
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
I’ve read this passage many times but I never realised the extent of its meaning until I actually experienced it. What did I confess? I confessed that I am not okay and that I am not okay with being not okay. What is the sin? I’ve been listening to the lies of the enemy so I will give up being a BSF leader. My sin is pretending I’m ok when I am not because I am ashamed of it. The righteous person is not self-righteous.
Is it a sin to be depressed? No, it’s not. Elijah was depressed and asked to die. Does a depressed person need healing? A big YES!
Today as I read the passage again, I realised what it means to confess to one another. Confession is never only before God. It is liberating to confess to another believer – fellow sinners in Christ so we can pray for one other and get healed. The implications of confessing to one another: 1) One person needs to be brave enough to start the ball rolling. 2) His confession emboldens fellow sinners to do the same. 3) Last but not the least, prayers – pray for one another to get healed from whatever that is making them not well.
It was not until that I braved myself (shamelessly) to confess, and acknowledged the need to be prayed with and prayed for, that I took the first step towards healing. My kind shepherd-leader was led by the Spirit to pray for me in that moment even when it was not prayer time as we were sharing something.
There is a stigma to mental illness. The reason I broke out in cold sweat is because it is scary to tell people even friends, more so strangers that I am not ok in the head mental or psycho.
We always think healing prayers are for the sick. But sin is a disease deeper than the physical we usually prayed for.
And the enemy works overtime to use my weakness, guilt over my unproductive time, anxiety over not doing enough as a BSF leader, petty concerns like rat matters, broken faucet, what to cook for the next meal, maid issues etc.. these matters worried me because I was not God-dependent.
I know in my head that it is a spiritual warfare, yet I could not fight it alone. I need prayer warriors. Perhaps my greater sin is I am concerned more about saving face – ashamed to confess that I am not well. Why am I worried about such trivial matters when there are so many suffering in the world today?!!
The reason I am writing this is to help my friends who might be going through the same struggles that I have. It is hard to be sick – physically, mentally, emotionally and more so ‘spiritually.’ Afflictions: something that cause pain or suffering (disorder, illness) serve a purpose. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction SO THAT we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are partners in our sufferings, so also you are in our comfort.
Just as I was and am comforted by my Father of mercies and God of all comfort, I am compelled to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort that I am comforted by God. This comfort is effective for us to patiently endure in the same suffering. Misery loves company is for non-believers. For Christians, sufferings are to be born with fellow sufferers because we have Jesus who suffered for us and with us as a man yet without sin.
Lord, thank you for your comfort and healing. Help me to acknowledge my sin and helplessness and depend on you to live healthy in mind, body and soul. In Jesus’ name, Amen.