I’m a pretty private person. I don’t particularly like sharing the details of my private life with other people, especially when something negative has occurred. Yet the Bible teaches me that there are times when I need to do exactly that.
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.
When I mess up in my life, one of the means back to spiritual health is to be willing to confess my failure to someone else. I think there are a couple of positive things that happen when I do that.
First, confessing my trespasses to others keeps me accountable. I remember once when out of embarrassment I told a flagrant lie to someone. For the rest of that day and night God hounded me! He made it very apparent that for me to restore my relationship with Him, I would have to go to the person I lied to and confess. That was the last thing I wanted to do! But I had no peace until I finally committed myself to doing it. And now my fervent desire to never have to repeat that experience helps me avoid resorting to convenient lies to get through difficult situations.
The second way being willing to confess our faults to another person helps is that it contributes to us tearing down our walls of pride. Or, to put it another way, confessing our failures to someone else requires an attitude of humility that is the opposite of the pride that wants to keep our mess-ups hidden.
BUT… yes, we should be humble, but also wise. The Scripture is not teaching that we need to broadcast our sins to the whole world. It says confess to “one another.” To me that says we should confess our faults to selected brothers and sisters in Christ who will receive our confession with gentleness and love, and respond with wise and godly counsel.