THE WEEK OF EPIPHANY V – TUESDAY
LESSON: MATTHEW 12:1-8
Confess your sins to one another. James 5:16
As Christians we confess our sins not only to God but also to our neighbor. This is a confession of love as the first is a confession of faith. James writes of this confession to our neighbor when he says, “Confess our sins one to another.” In this confession, you acknowledge the wrongs you have done to your neighbor. Christ has outlined the procedure which we are to follow in His Sermon on the Mount: “If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to our brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court” (Matthew 5:23-25).
Christ here gives instructions to both parties. The one who has given offense should ask for forgiveness; that one who has been offended should be ready to forgive. This confession is necessary and commanded like confession to God. God will not bestow His grace on anyone and forgive him his sins if he is not prepared to forgive his neighbor. Our faith is not right if it does not produce this fruit, namely, forgiving the neighbor and requesting his forgiveness. Otherwise, we must not come before God. If this is not a fruit of your faith, your faith, as well as your confession to God, is not in order.
PRAYER: Bestow your grace upon us in such measure, O God, that we are duly humbled and readily confess our sins to our neighbor, forgiving him his sins against us, in and through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.