What do you think?
James addresses problems that injure and divide the church, such as favoritism, faith that doesn’t result in works, worldliness, rich people taking advantage of the poor, untamed tongues, boasting, and doubting each other’s word so that we have to swear oaths. James ends his letter with a practical message regarding bringing healing. Healing occurs through prayer in the context of confessing our sins to one another, James 5:13-16.
The confession that heals is not solely what goes on in the confession booth between one person and the priest. James tells us to confess to one another. How might such confession be superior to, but not necessarily replace, seeing a priest or a counselor? Here are some advantages of small group confession. It gives us peers who are coming to know our weaknesses and can hold us accountable in troubled areas of our lives. It wasn’t until I had a few men with whom I regularly met and with whom I honestly shared my struggles, that I began to overcome certain sinful habits in my life. Why? My friends cared and kept checking to see if I was cooperating with God with regard to the sins I had confessed. Since I didn’t want to tell my friends that their prayers for me went unanswered, I was highly motivated to trust God for victory in my weak areas.
This is the kind of confession needed in James’ church/es. It’s needed in our churches. For an example of how it might work, see how John Wesley arranged for this kind of confession in the churches that he ministered to: https://vitalpiety.com/2010/07/30/the-methodist-class-meeting-for-the-21st-century-the-foundation/