"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another,
that ye may be healed."
James 5:16 (KJV)
Ed was a big, tall man but very quiet. He came into the circle with his head low and had the countenance of someone that was only there to listen and quietly check out this men’s circle. There was also the reward of a free lunch being served so his motives may have been mixed. But he also seemed emotionally cold and gave the impression he wasn’t very comfortable and may leave at any time.
My wife and I have been asked to lead a men’s group on a regular basis this past year. It was in the basement of a large church near the downtown area of Winnipeg. There is a large population of street people in the area, and they are invited to come, many of them being Native American. The emphasis is on providing a place where men can come to find support and hopefully healing from the hurt and pain of past experiences. We want it to be a safe and trusting place.
We encourage the participants to share their stories, as it is in the telling of one's story and breaking the silence that healing can begin. We usually start with a teaching time and then open it up for people to share. On this particular day, Ed, who I had never seen before, was the last person I had expected would share. When I finally opened up the sharing time, there was a long silence. To my surprise, Ed began to speak. And then, he could hardly stop. He shared how he had had no intention of sharing but couldn’t help himself, and the story of his life came flowing out. He had never shared parts of his incredible story before. His painful experiences had lead to hurting others and himself. He was, in fact, confessing to us and beginning to heal.
My question for you this Lent season is this: are there parts of your story you have never been able to share or confess? Certainly, opening your heart to God is the key, but God also uses his people to listen to our stories of pain, hurt, and even sin. It is in these confessions that we see powerful healing. Jesus longs to meet you there.
Dear Lord, thank you for being the safe place we can all come to no matter where we have been, what has been done to us, or what we may have done to others. You are our healer and the ultimate giver of life. Thank you, for your amazing grace and forgiveness! In Jesus' name, Amen.