Daily Devotion

James 5:16a

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Wednesday, 19 July 2017

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READ:

James 5:16a

16a Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.

EXHORTATION:

The situation in view here is that of Christians who suffer from some form of sickness, apparently as a chastisement for their sins. They are advised to confess the offences they have committed to those whom they have injured. The specific reason for such an advice is that the offenders who have fallen sick “may be healed”.

The “confession of sins” taught here, is not to a priest, as the Catholics teach. No mention at all is made here of a priest or even of a minister of religion as the one to whom the confession is to be made. The confession referred to is for “faults” with reference to “one another”. In other words, if one has injured another, he should confess it to the one whom he has hurt. Nothing is mentioned here about confessing faults to those whom we have not injured at all. There is no mention here of absolution (or pardon granted) either by a priest or any other person.

Upon the confession of faults to one another, they are instructed to pray one for another. The offender and the aggrieved party should pray for each other. In other words, confession should not be made perfunctorily, but in a truly devout spirit, that is, in a spirit consistent with prayer. Confessing of sin should not be done merely to get through a duty. It must come from the heart, in such a way that the brother whom he has offended would be moved to pray with him.

It also teaches us that when the offender (being sick) is unable to visit the aggrieved party to offer his sincere apologies but indicates (in some ways) his desire to make confession, the offended person must not haughtily refuse his humble request. The offended person must be humble and patient enough to examine his own heart so as not to deny the request of the repenting offender. Both must get together and pray one for another. Mutual prayer demands mutual love and confidence. Quarrelling and fault-finding will prevent us from praying together. So we should forgive each other freely and from our hearts, because not forgiving hinders prayer (Mark 11:25-26). We must also desire each other’s spiritual and physical good. It is such mutual love and prayer that will be rewarded with the restoration to health of the sick Christian. It is ungodly to keep a cold, haughty distance and perpetuate mutual estrangement ever after.