James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Question: What healing is promised to the person who confesses their sin only to God and never to another human being? Answer: none. No healing is promised to the person who confesses his sin privately to God but never to another human being. Forgiveness, yes (1 John 1:9). Healing, no. Forgiveness has to do with the past. We are forgiven past debts. Healing has to do with the ability to function in the future. Unless we confess our sins to a priest, we will never be healed. The reformation said that Catholics got it wrong because we are all priests. We thought the reformers said we didn’t need to confess our sins to anybody. We were wrong, and this subtle mistake cost us our understanding of the good news. We thought we could get healing by confessing our sins only to God and never to another human being. It isn’t in the contract. The instructions read otherwise.
Our souls desperately need for someone to hear us out. We need to tell our secrets. We need to get it all out of the closet—not in public—but before a priest. We need a friend to represent God to us. We need a friend that we can tell about our depression, our lust, our greed and our hatred. We need someone who will perform the role of a priest for us. We need someone who will represent God to us. We need someone before whom we can be honest. We need someone to hear us out and say to us, “Your sins are forgiven. You are accepted in God’s sight. Everything you have done, thought about, and wanted to do has not diminished God’s love for you one little bit.”
Until we hear this, we will always wonder. We will always wonder if we are really accepted. We put on our good selves and relate to each other through our masks. That is not bad in itself. We do not have to tell all to everyone. We only need one priest, two at the most.
When we tell our stories and someone represents God to us and is our priest and says, “Your sins are forgiven,” we will know the joy of the good news. Still, one thing more is needed. We need to understand the goal. What is the point of Christianity anyway? It is not enough to understand what we were saved from. We need to understand what we were saved for.
Hunt, Josh. 2015. You Can Double Your Church in Five Years or Less. Josh Hunt.