The shame of sin.
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. (NIV)
When Adam and Eve sinned, the first thing they did was hide. This is the power of shame.
The human soul was made for love and craves it. Yet, sin has corrupted how we imagine love. The human perception of love is conditional based on worth. When we feel we have handled ourselves well, there is a sense of worth and we feel loveable. But when we have not handled ourselves well, especially if we have sinned, we feel our worth is diminished. Our fear is that people will not love us if they know what we have done. In our shame, we isolate ourselves from anyone who could revive our sense of worth by loving us even when they know what we have done.
James gives an alternative. Let us confess our sins one to another. The context is the power of prayer from Godly people. The prayer of the righteous is able to bring healing, forgiveness, and turn back those who have abandoned God. But in each case, there is a need to confess to others what is going on in our life. To let them know when we are suffering be it from sickness, heartache, or shame, we are comforted when they love us anyway through prayer, never condemnation.
Shame makes us feel unlovable not only by other people but by God Himself. We know intellectually that God still loves us, but we don’t feel it in our hearts. In times of shame, the heart tends to carry more weight than our intellect. So we hide from people and we hide from God as if He doesn’t know. I can’t tell you how many people feel they can’t come to church when they have committed what they feel is a huge sin.
It is the community of believers that keeps loving us which also reminds us that God loves us to give us these people who simply forgive and pray without judgment.
James warns us in a way that we should confess to the righteous. There are some too immature to not judge, condemn, or get offended. God has put people like this in your life. We can never be shamed into hiding because of our sin. God knew all our sins and sent Christ to us anyway. His love is greater than our shame.
Prayer: Lord, let me trust someone enough to confess that I might know Your forgiveness and unconditional love. Amen.