Agree with God about your sin and remind each other of the Truth!
A lot of spiritual and emotional damage has been done by misguided teaching and counseling regarding the “confessing” of sins to an “accountability” partner, priest, pastor or spiritual leader.
Much of the abuse has come from misunderstanding the original intent, and then wrong application of:
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5: 16)
The Greek word sometimes translated “confess” simply means “to agree with…to say the same thing as someone else.”
My understanding is that we are to agree with God about what He says about our sin(s) and to remind each other of what God says about their sins.
God says: Christ has taken away all the sin of the world; The Father was In Christ Jesus at the cross, reconciling the entire cosmos to Himself, not counting anyone’s sins against them (ever!); He chooses not to remember our sin; He has put our sin as far as the east is from the west; He will not bring out sin up to us for His own sake.
That’s what we are to “confess” to one another. We’re to remind each other of what God says about all of each other’s sin.
Going to a “spiritual” leader and regurgitating your sins to him/her makes a person feel condemned (there is NO condemnation in Christ!) and gives the listener unwarranted power and control over the “confessor.”
In fact, the writer of Hebrews tells us that God doesn’t want us to have any sin-consciousness at all!
Of course, if we wrong someone, we should go to them, admit what we did, and make things right as best we can, with both sides always knowing that love covers a multitude of sin and grace covers and empowers everything!
The beauty of two people each growing in God’s grace, is that we can do what George MacDonald teaches and “forethink our forgiveness!” When we have decided in advance to forgive another for any way they might hurt us, then when someone comes to us and asks for forgiveness — it’s already a done deal!
I believe that God wants us to agree with Him about our sin and remind each other of the Truth! ~Paul Gray