I recently completed a paper about addiction. During my research for the paper I came across this quote from a man named Cornelius Plantinga. The book is called Not The Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin:

An addict stands a chance of recovery only if he is finally willing to tell himself the truth. The only way out of the addict’s plight is through it. He has to face it, deal with it, confess it. With the firm and caring support of people important to him, he has to rip his way through all the tissues of denial and self-deception that have “protected his supply.” The addict has to take a hard step, the first of the famous twelve steps. Paradoxically, he must help himself by admitting that he is helpless. He must perform the courageous, difficult, and highly responsible act of acknowledging the hopelessness and wholesale unmanageability of his life.

This is what John means in 1 John 1.8-9 when he says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” James tells us to “confess your sins one to another and pray for each other so that you might be healed” (5.16). Confession isn’t shameful, it’s freeing. We’re all sinners in need of grace. When we confess our sin, that’s what we’re admitting.

 The wounds sin causes are healed by Jesus as we admit that we are sinners to each other. It doesn’t come by acting as though we don’t sin – John says those people are liars and “the truth is not in you” (1 John 1.8). But, for those who confess they will find grace, forgiveness and healing.