Faith General Mentoring Helps Relationships

The Power of Confession

It’s been a long, hard week. Demands on your time, your inner soul have taken its toll. At the end of the day, you need something.  Fill in the _____________ with your default. Perhaps it’s a few cans of beer to calm the stress. One guy I know has his buddy come over for a vaping session. Another kicks back with his phone for some porn and regrettable self-gratifying acts. Another binge-watches sports all weekend, hardly leaving the couch from Friday night till Monday morning, ordering in junk food till he’s nauseous.

Reality is we each have needs. Legitimate needs for rest and relaxation, for hope. The problem is we turn to things that turn into strongholds; areas of our lives we cannot break free from. Sins piled on sins that become more than bad habits. Destruction to the nth degree. Our souls ruined. In his article Comfort Food, ( Josh Skaggs points out an interesting connection with a long-held heretical view called Gnosticism and our need to binge/purge. We all sin, and when we do, we beat ourselves up over it. We vow to try harder, to berate our bodies, to read our Bibles more. Problem is, it doesn’t work. We feel trapped and conclude that God wants nothing to do with us. In fact, in taking this approach we discount the Gospel’s power to overcome.

Path Forward

In mentoring young men, they often fall repeatedly into the same sins. 24-hour rule texts are sometimes frequent. Truth is, they are a step in the right direction. Secrecy is a major foe against real change. To confess is to defeat the lie of secrecy. To confess is to admit your need for help. To confess is to find healing.  

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16 ESV

In Christ, we find complete forgiveness.  

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9 ESV

Washed clean. Nothing feels better than a shower after a long, hot, sweaty day working outside. Washed clean in our soul is what God does for us in Christ. When you confess your sins to God, He forgives you in Christ. Washed. Pure. FORGIVEN.

Then Why Confess to my Fellow Man?

There is something about total honesty with a fellow brother in Christ. With the man who loves you unconditionally, who has your back, who will fight for your sanctification. Healing comes from Christ through your fellow man. Look what James says in 5:19-20

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

We were never meant to fight sin alone. Confession is part of the victory journey. 

When I sin, when I bite the apple of temptation, my first reaction is to keep it a secret; tell no one and maybe it will go away. I clean up my act and portray an image I have life all together.  What a huge lie! Thankfully, that lie of Satan has been fleeting lately. It’s losing its grip on me. Instead, when I fall, I take the gutsy, bold approach of confessing my sin to a brother in Christ. God honors that transparency. With a heart of humility, I tell my sin story. Then, I quiet my soul and listen to words of advice, admonition, and exhortation. Face to face I see tears of compassion, words of healing and an arm of hope wrapped around me.  Healing. This, my friend, is the way to victory over your sin. What transpires over time is a decrease in the frequency of sin because your heart is increasingly filled with the desire to live for the Spirit, in community.

What Happens When My Mentor Sins?

Even if your mentor is walking with God, he will inevitably sin. Mentors are not sinless this side of eternity. Don’t put them on a pedestal. They are on a journey just like you are. They are hopefully walking with God in a way that brings hope even in the midst of their own sin struggles.  It’s happened to me when I’ve sinned. Pride immediately wants to squelch the fall, keeping it a secret. What I’ve come to realize is that just as I encourage the young men I mentor to practice open confession of sin, so am I called to the very same.

When your mentor falls and sends you a 24-hour rule text, reciprocate with him the very grace he’s extended to you. 

Iron sharpens iron,

    and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 ESV

Godly accountability is a two-way street. As a mentor, modeling confession fosters such in the young men you walk with. If they are listening intently, they will learn to come alongside you in your time of struggle. They will be the one snatching you from the fire; bringing you back from your wandering. You will be an agent of the Holy Spirit helping a fellow man in his journey to Jesus.

A Powerful Tool for Restoration

Here is a link to the Mentoring Warriors Four Steps of Real Accountability for Men

Download it. Use it. Talk to your mentor about it. Confess to him your sin struggles. And in such both of you discover the awesome grace and hope of complete forgiveness and healing in Christ.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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