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February 6, 2024 | Brad Campbell

How good are you at keeping secrets? 

Everyone who knows me well knows that I am a terrible keeper of secrets (especially exciting secrets). In my friend group, I am usually the last to know about the news of someone’s pregnancy, someone’s surprise party, or someone’s plans to propose. I am usually the last to know for good reason, too! My excitable tail-wagging personality could not contain the excitement, and my fragile mind would break, releasing the secret into the nether of space and time. 

But what if I asked the above question differently? What if I asked the question, “how good are you at keeping your ownsecrets?” My guess is if you’re anything like me, you’re pretty good at keeping your own secrets. My guess is if you’re anything like me, you find it extremely challenging to be transparent about your struggles and sins with others. My guess is if you’re anything like me, you wake up most days holding the weight of a secret you wished you could tell someone without the fear of rejection or judgment. So I’ll ask again, how good are you at keeping your own secrets? 

The Christian life actually testifies that no one should be good at keeping their own secrets. Which points us to perhaps the most important prayer practice of the Church: confession. In his epistle to the scattered church, James writes, “confess your sins to each other and prayer for each other so that you may be healed" (James 5:16). But how exactly can confession and prayer heal someone? 

The Christian life underscores the profound notion that secrecy in one's actions and intentions contradicts the essence of spiritual growth and communal wellbeing. In his epistle, James implores Christians everywhere to openly acknowledge their faults to one another and engage in fervent prayer. This practice, he asserts, holds the key to healing – an assertion unparalleled in the New Testament.

Confession operates as a conduit for healing in four ways. 

First, it dismantles the walls of isolation and shame that often accompany sin. By vocalizing one's struggles and vulnerabilities, individuals shatter the illusion of perfection and invite empathy and understanding from fellow believers. In this vulnerability, they encounter the profound grace and unconditional love of God, which transcends human failings and offers redemption.

Second, confession fosters accountability within the Christian community. By entrusting one's faults to others, individuals invite constructive support and guidance, thereby fostering personal growth and spiritual maturity. The act of confession thus cultivates a culture of transparency and mutual care, where individuals are upheld and encouraged on their journey of faith.

Third, confession serves as a catalyst for inner healing and renewal. By confronting and acknowledging their sins, individuals confront the roots of their distress and brokenness, paving the way for genuine repentance and transformation. Through the healing power of God's grace, they find restoration and wholeness, liberated from the burdens of guilt and shame that once enslaved them.

Lastly, confession embodies the profound truth that healing is not merely a physical or emotional phenomenon but a spiritual reality rooted in the reconciling love of God. It is through the courageous act of confession and the redemptive power of Christ's sacrifice that individuals find healing, restoration, and reconciliation—both with themselves and with their Creator. 

Confession is one of the greatest opportunities for us to become Fully Alive with Jesus, in community, and on mission. I will be the first to tell you that confession is also the least fun of all the prayer practices! Haha. But I invite you to lean into the discomfort of confession and to confess a secret you’ve been hiding with a fellow believer this week. If you don’t have someone to confide in, feel free to contact me or another minister on staff and we will gladly pray with you and for you in this way! One starting point for confession throughout the last five hundred years has been the classic prayer of confession written by Thomas Cranmer in 1549. I encourage you to make this prayer a regular part of your prayer life in the coming weeks leading up to Easter.

Most merciful God, 

we confess that we have sinned against you 

in thought, word, and deed, 

by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. 

We have not loved you with our whole heart; 

we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. 

We are truly sorry, and we humbly repent. 

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, 

have mercy on us and forgive us; 

that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, 

to the glory of your Name. Amen.


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Plainfield Christian Church

800 Dan Jones Rd | Plainfield, Indiana 46168