So That You May Be Healed
by Johnny Baker
There’s a verse in the Bible that is so important. It’s important because it gives us the formula for finding healing in our lives. Healing from what, you ask? I’m not talking about physical healing, but healing from the things in your life that are holding you back or tripping you up, or that are keeping you from becoming the person God intends you to be.
How can I be so sure you have these kinds of things in your life? Simple, we all do. Sure, some of us might have bigger issues than others, but the truth is we have all made mistakes, and we’ve all been hurt by other people. I so wish this wasn’t true, but it is. There’s no use fighting it. In fact, all of the energy we spend pretending it isn’t true, that I’m fine thank you very much, is energy we could be using getting better.
In James 5:16 we are told, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” There it is. The simple formula so many of us are looking for. Healing comes in the context of a relationship. Isn’t God amazing? He knows that as humans our tendency would be to isolate, to be alone in our struggles and pain, and so He tells us that to find healing, we will need other people.
It’s all about relationships.
At heart, I am an introvert. As a pastor and speaker, I’m often in front of large groups, and I love to spend time with people, but at the end of the day I need a little alone time to recharge my batteries. I’m also a recovering alcoholic, and so I know that isolating is a great way to make sure I stay stuck in my problems. The thing is, I like being alone. I enjoy a little “me” time. I live for moments when I have the house to myself. (If my wife and kids are reading this, I’m sorry, but you know it’s true.) But this very desire to be alone has often come at a great cost. When I am alone, I am vulnerable. So are you.
I love watching nature shows, especially the one’s about lions. I love watching the lions hunt. Sometime in the course of the action, the narrator will say something like, “The lioness has gotten a young gazelle away from the herd, it’s only a matter of time now.” Eventually the lioness will take that isolated gazelle back to her cubs and they will enjoy a meal. You and I are like these gazelles. There is protection in numbers. The Bible tells us that our enemy, Satan, “…prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). If we isolate too much, we become easy targets.
So we are told to be in relationships. Not just in James 5:16, but over and over again, God’s Word tells us to be with each other. But here, each other leads to healing.
What do we do with each other?
This verse tells us two things to do with each other to find healing: confess our sins and pray. That’s it. Should be easy right? Are you kidding me? You want me to confess my sins to someone? I know how it sounds. It sounds impossible. But the key here is each other. This isn’t a one-way street. The Bible doesn’t say to find someone to confess to who will then pray for you. No, it says to confess your sins to each other and pray for each other. This is true intimacy. By putting James 5:16 into place, you are going into a deep relationship with someone who is going to help you find healing.
So whom do I choose?
You want to find someone safe, that will enter this relationship with you. While I love and value the relationship of a counselor or therapist, they aren’t set up for the “each other” part of James 5:16. You can confess to them, but it is unlikely they will do the same with you.
I also recommend someone of the same gender as yourself. This way you will make sure that you can share anything you need to, and not worry about sharing something that isn’t suitable for “mixed company.” What about your spouse? Sure, that can work, and it can be powerful and beautiful, but I suggest finding someone else to do this with as well. But why? Because we are as sick as our secrets. The things we can’t talk about own us. So, find someone to share your secrets with. If you can’t imagine someone who is very close to you knowing all of your secrets at once, it can be helpful to find someone with a little more space.
So where do you find them?
That’s where support comes in. If you find there is a secret you are guarding so close that the idea that someone, anyone, would know it panics you, it’s time to find some help. I encourage you, no, I beg you, to reach out and find help. Go to your church and see if there are men’s or women’s small groups you can join, call a friend and invite them to coffee, or check out Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery is in 30,000 churches all over the world, and they are full of people who are daily practicing James 5:16. To find a Celebrate Recovery in your area head over to www.celebraterecovery.com and click on the “CR Groups” tab.
No matter where you find the “each other,” make today the day you stop being isolated and get back to the herd. You’ll find love, you’ll find protection, you’ll find encouragement and you’ll find healing.
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