“Confess your trespasses to one another.” James 5:16
It is related of John the evangelist, who upon his return from Patmos to Ephesus after the death of Domitian, was set upon by a company of thieves. Among them was a young man, their captain, to whom John applied himself by way of wholesome counsel and advice. His counsel took so good effect that he became a new man and was converted and went thereupon to all his fellow-thieves and besought them, in the name of Jesus Christ, that they would walk no longer in their former wicked ways. He told them that he was troubled in conscience, and earnestly entreated them that they would now leave their old courses. The counsel was good and well taken so that many of those great robbers became great converts.
Thus it is that one sinner’s confession of trespasses to another may happily prove the means of his conversion. Hence the meaning of that precept, “Confess your trespasses one to another,” is thus interpreted by some: That he, for example, who has been a drunkard, should go to his companions in iniquity and tell them that he is troubled in mind, and perhaps he may be a means of converting them.
Reader! Are you a converted man? Follow this method; go to your old companions. Warn them of their danger, and you will either be a means of converting them, or hereby will get rid of their troublesome company in the future. Again, he who has injured another, should confess his fault to him, as well as to God, and beg forgiveness from both.
Devotion by Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky (1690—1774)
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