By James MacDonald
Excerpt from Act Like Men
One of the crucial lessons I’ve discovered in the decades I’ve been a pastor is that men need opportunities to connect and talk with one another. They need relationships and an environment in which they can let their guards down, stop pretending, and be transparent. Men are not failing for lack of content; men are struggling because they lack connectedness, accountability, and meaningful, mutual, motivational community relationships with other brothers in the Lord. It says in James 5:16a, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” I want to encourage you to stir up a heart of compassion for the other men in your group.
Now, considering James 5:16, anyone who knows the Gospels knows that only God can forgive sins. However, the reason we confess our sins into one another’s ears is not because we think that we can forgive one another’s sins. We confess our sins to one another to promote vulnerability, accountability, and assurance of forgiveness. Many men (including this writer, at times) wallow in shame and defeat because of a variety of things. So, we keep sin a secret. We hide in our shame. We isolate ourselves. But confessing our sins to one another helps pull us out of that hole. In honesty’s light we’re able to see that we all fail; we all struggle; we all need Christ. And we’re better able to see the need to pray for one another so that we can be healed, changed, and free.