Confessing where we miss the mark is one of the most powerful growth exercises available to humans. The sad thing is that most people think only of confessing their sins to God. They read 1 John 1:9, confess their sin to God, claim forgiveness from him, and move on. And that is very important. But it is not the whole picture of what the Bible prescribes.
The Bible also tells us of the tradition, the power, and the imperative to confess with and to each other. In the Old Testament, the Israelites came together to confess their sins and the sins of their fathers. They confessed the generational patterns before them and the ways that they were falling short themselves.
The New Testament says confess to each other and pray for one another for healing to occur. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
When we do this in a group, powerful things happen:
• We see God as the source of forgiveness.
• We see God as the boss.
• We get much more deeply connected to each other as the fig leaf is removed.
• We experience and internalize the grace and acceptance of the group.
• We feel more of God’s grace and love as a result of the group’s grace.
• We are less alienated and more trusting.
• We are less ashamed and feel more like everyone else.
• We take responsibility for our actions and take a step toward self-control.
• We are humbled in a good way.
Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (2010). Making small groups work: what every small group leader needs to know. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.