Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
“Speak truthfully to your neighbor,” says Paul in our text for today.
Does that mean we say nothing but the truth? The whole truth? Does that include what Jesus’ brother James tells us to do: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16)?
A young friend reflected with me about a sermon he had heard. He said, “A lot of what the pastor talked about is the need to be vulnerable because in doing so we can often find healing and growth.” Then he added, “I have never been one to put on pretenses, and I tend to be open about my faults with others.”
Then he said, “But my Christian friends don’t seem to like it when I admit faults to them. I’m not sure why this is, and I wish they understood my motive in doing so. I think that we need not only to be vulnerable as believers but also to allow others to be open with us about their faults. I think there are a lot of people who don’t understand the value in this.”
I think Paul and James agree with my young friend. If we put off falsehood and spoke truthfully, we would shed pretenses and confess to each other, wouldn’t we? Real “communion of saints” is possible if we are Christlike—loving, caring, gracious, forgiving.
We say, “Confession is good for the soul.” It is, and it is good for the body too—Christ’s body, the church.
Jesus, we pray for the healing that comes from truthful confession. In your name, Amen.