Belt of Truth
Knowing and Applying God's Truth to Real Life
James 5:16 (NKJV) Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
What truth is revealed? There are times when confession is essential to strengthen relationships and to give humility an opportunity to be expressed. James tells us that we are to confess our “trespasses.” A trespass is an unwanted or unwarranted incursion on another person’s emotional territory. (James is not talking about general sin, he is talking about a sin directly related to a personal offense with another person) So, when we are aware that we have caused emotional pain to another person through our actions we must: 1) Confess our trespass. Which means we take responsibility for our actions. 2) We ask for forgiveness with no excuses. 3) We pray for one another, because we need God to bring healing to our wounded emotions.
What can we learn from this teaching? We will step on other people’s emotional toes. Sometimes, because we are willfully trespassing; other-times, because we unwittingly step where we should not. The reality is this: We must take responsibility for our actions or words; and if we have caused emotional trauma, then we must seek reconciliation per James 5:16.
How can I apply this truth to my life? I personally have lots of opportunities to exercise James 5:16. As a pastor, I mix it up with people all the time; and often, I “trespass” into a place where I cause unneeded hurt. This is where Ephesian 4:15 comes in handy. Learning to “speak the truth in love.” If I can’t say something with true “agape” in my heart then it is better to bite my tongue. I also need to take the Lord’s Prayer seriously, “Father, forgive my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me; and when I have caused unnecessary emotional pain in another person, help me to humble myself before them and make my confession.”
Questions to Consider:
As revealed by God through the Life and Message of Christ; through the wisdom of Solomon; through the letters of the Apostles; through the inspiration of God.