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)

If I did something sinful between myself and God, like watching pornography, smoking, getting drunk, having sinful thoughts, involving in some sinful activities etc. and I want to stop doing it, do I have to confess my weakness to others and bring shame to myself? It would be fine if the audience are my good friends but if there are new people in the church, I don't think it is appropriate to share my personal life to a stranger. I think personal problems should be shared with the pastor and ask him to pray for us, encourage us and strengthen us.

  1. Do I have to share my shameful private life and humiliate myself in front of everyone?
  2. Does this verse imply only to confessing and asking forgiveness to the person that we hurt and sin against?

I would prefer answers from Evangelical or Pentecostal.

  • Just as a comment, watching pornography is not victimless. You are contributing to the sin against (or maybe of) those "starring" in it. No sin is victimless: often it's only you; but probably equally often, it's really someone else. Feb 12 '14 at 0:22

Jesus also said:

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)


Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7:6)

Wisdom would suggest that one choose one's counselors wisely. This would not mean a stranger.

Confessing your sin is also done privately, per Matthew 18:15

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.


James 5:16 (which you quoted) is pretty clear that we confess our sins to the righteous, honorable ones in the church in order to be prayed for regarding those issues.

These people know what it means to sin and be shamed by it, so they will treat the confession with respect and discreetness. They themselves have struggled with sin and know its power; they also know of deliverance. Their humble prayers encourage us and bring healing and wisdom.


Do I have to disclose my private life to a stranger?

Affable Geek and Steve have pretty well exhausted the answer to your question. I can only add that the word "confess" can also be translated "admit." Our position should never be one of denial or avoidance if we are the perpetrators of sin, whether against God alone or against our fellow man as well.

The Bible teaches that we must be responsible and accountable for the things we say and do; therefore, we must admit not only that we have sinned, but also done harm to the one against whom we have sinned.


Although I am not Pentecostal or Evangelical I will give you what advice I find in the Bible, and will not burden you with any of my opinions.

1st John 1:9 KJV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

As far as who to confess to these may be some qualifications you might use to select:

Matthew 7:1 KJV Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Matthew 7:2 KJV For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

From these Scriptures you might decide just how much public confession you make.

Matthew 10:32 KJV Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

Luke 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:

I have found no other commandment for public confession after Jesus death and resurrection, but there are several Scriptures affirming that we should confess our sins to God.

I will break my promise and add just one opinion:

The only forgiveness which matters is God's.

For those who are down voting What I am saying with the quotes Matthew 10:32 and Luke 12:8 is the only public confession is that Jesus is LORD, and not that it means we are to publicly proclaim our sins!!!!!!

  • 3
    "confess me before men" -- this is not about publicly confessing ones sins, but siding with Christ publicly.
    – Steve
    Feb 11 '14 at 14:42
  • @Steve that is exactly what I was saying, even though you may have read it differently than I meant it.
    – BYE
    Feb 11 '14 at 15:06

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