Opening the Door to Healing
"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."1
Related to what the Bible calls "confession," counselors call "catharsis," which means to purify by emptying out—an emptying out of the emotional poison that makes us sick or sicker than we need to be. Catharsis is needed to "get rid of … feelings of hatred"2 as God's Word instructs us to do. Just talking "about" negative feelings doesn't get rid of them. In fact, it can keep one stuck in them. They need to be felt in all their intensity and expressed creatively by either verbalizing them or writing them out until they are totally dissipated. (For help see footnote No. 3.)
Confession is not only confessing our failures and sins, but also where we've been sinned against, as this can leave a spirit of resentment in us that we need to "empty out" and resolve.
Confession with catharsis is the emptying out of the poisonous emotions of hurt, anger, grief, guilt, and shame that are a result of our own actions or of being hurt, abandoned, abused, criticized, rejected, and so on, which stops us truly forgiving any and all who may have hurt us in the past—anywhere from yesterday to yesteryear all the way back to early childhood.
Furthermore, to fail to forgive keeps us bound by the past. As we have noted before, "Failing to forgive is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." Or as Max Lucado put it, "Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner."
It is a fact of life that confession with catharsis, followed by forgiveness of any and all who have ever hurt us, opens the door to our healing and wellbeing.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see any sins in my life that I need to confess, and help me to get in touch with any unresolved negative emotions and learn how to 'empty them out' in helpful and healing ways. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. James 5:16 (NIV).
2. 1 Peter 2:1 (TLB) (NLT).
3. See, "Taming Your Anger," http://tinyurl.com/b439f.