"Declare your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may find healing." —James 5:16
The Lord clearly commands us to declare our sins to each other. He also commands us not to even mention shameful things (Eph 5:3, 12) and not to publicize others' sins (see Mt 18:15). However, when we confess certain sins to others, we have difficulties avoiding giving scandal. For example, if you would confess publicly the sin of adultery, the people hearing this would naturally be tempted to speculate on the identity of the person with whom you were sexually involved. They might be easily able to guess who your sexual partner was or they might even implicate an innocent person.
How can we obey Jesus' command to publicly confess our sins without disobeying other commands of Jesus? Paul spoke of forgiving as a representative of the Church (2 Cor 2:10). By confessing our sins to a representative of the Church and of the Lord (see Jn 20:23), we can confess our sins publicly, avoid giving scandal, and receive the special healing which usually accompanies public confession.
Go to the sacrament of Confession. Obey Jesus. Be forgiven and healed.
Prayer: Father, may I treasure Confession so much that I celebrate this sacrament monthly or more frequently.
Promise: "People were bringing their little children to Him to have Him touch them." —Mk 10:13
Praise: James has witnessed publicly of his vasectomy and how the Lord showed him its sinfulness, restored him through reversal surgery, and blessed him with more children.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, The Secret of Confession, or our tape on audio AV 44-3 or video V-44.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007
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