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CrossPointe Community Church
P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215


You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

Matthew 5:21-24

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

James 5:13-18


Copper Nails

Randy K’Meyer

Once there was a mad scientist who decided to clone himself. Everything worked perfectly, except that the clone had a very foul mouth. Try as he might the scientist could not make the clone clean up his language. He got so tired of the clone’s language that one day he pushed him off a cliff. A policeman rushed up to him, and yelled, “You are under arrest!”
“What for?” the mad scientist asked.
And the answer was: “For making an obscene clone fall.”

Two guys were stranded on a desert island. The only way they could get food was to kill sea birds by throwing rocks at them. By the time they were rescued, they had left no tern unstoned.

And so it is that now I can demonstrate today’s text by saying to you, “I confess that I am not a very good joketeller.”

Who’ll be the next one to confess? Let’s form a line to my right.

Some of you are probably thinking that it didn’t take any gumption to confess I can’t tell a joke. And perhaps, some of you are disappointed that the subject of my confession wasn’t a little more juicy.

Many, if not all of us, would agree that we have a need to confess our sins to God. We know that un-confessed sin has a way of coming between us and God; building a barrier between us and God; hindering our relationship with God. We know that “if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). And so we make confession to God a regular part of our prayer life, right?

It’s another thing entirely to confess our sins to one another. I don’t think I want you to know my dark side; other than telling bad jokes.

But when it comes to sin there are two barriers that need to be removed – the barrier sin causes between us and God, as well as the barrier sin erects between us and other people. And so it makes sense, doesn’t it, that if both barriers are to be removed, both kinds of confession must be made.

The $64,000 questions about this phrase confess your sins to one another is: who is the mysterious one another?

Some insist James is asking that we confess our sins to the entire church body. Some may recall Rev. Jimmy Swaggert not only stood before his congregation but millions of television viewers as well, to hang out his dirty laundry.

Others say James is encouraging us to confess our sins in the context of a small group, where we can really trust our friends to keep in confidence our dark side.

Those of you who have experience with the Catholic faith are thinking about those times when you confessed your sins to your Priest.

So which is it? The entire church, small group, or one person?

The key that reveals the answer to the $64,000 question, is to remember that when we confess a sin, regardless if we confess to God or to others, the point is that we are seeking forgiveness that we might be, as the Amplified Bible puts it, “healed and restored.” And the only person that can forgive us is the one we have wronged.

We can confess our sins before a congregation of people, or in the presence of friends as part of a small group, or to just one friend, with the result that they will be awed at our courage and humility, and they might even say, “We forgive you.” But we won’t be forgiven . . . until the one we have wronged forgives us.

If I sin against one of you, the whole congregation can’t forgive me, my small group can’t forgive me, and my best friend can’t forgive me. They don’t even have the right to forgive me, I didn’t wrong them, I wronged you! Only you can forgive me. Forgiveness can really only be granted by the one who was wronged!

This act of admitting our wrongdoing to the person we have wronged is so important to God that Jesus, in His most famous sermon of all, said, If we are worshipping God, “and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, go and be reconciled to that person, and then come and” and conclude your worship (Matthew 5:23-24). Notice Jesus didn’t say, “Stand up and beat your breast and cry crocodile tears in front of the entire congregation,” He said, “Go to that person.”

When we wrong someone, there is only one proper response: we seek that person out and say, “I was wrong, please forgive me.’

Elton John wrote a song entitled Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word. I’m glad he wrote Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word because there are three harder words to say: ‘I was wrong.’ It’s one thing to say, ‘I’m sorry;’ it’s another entirely to say, ‘I was wrwrrrrronngg.’

Why? Because we want to think we are always right. The psychological reasons for this are complicated, but suffice it to say that being right is extremely important to us because, at an early age, we learned that being right has much to do with gaining the approval of others.

So, when it appears we might be wrong, we prefer if at all possible to pass the buck; to point the finger in another direction, to blame someone else, anyone else, rather than take responsibility for ourselves.

It’s hard to say, “I am, or I was wrong.” To say, ‘I was wrong’ takes courage because it puts our self-concept at risk. To say, ‘I was wrong’ requires humility and vulnerability. To say, ‘I was wrong’ is hard.

If you are married, how long has it been since these words came out of your mouth “Honey, what I did today or yesterday was wrong, would you forgive me?”

If you have children, how long has it been since your child has heard you say, “Son, daughter, what I said or did was wrong, will you forgive me?”

For some, the answer would be ‘a long time;’ for others, it would be ‘never.’

Admitting wrong and asking to be forgiven is one of the most helpful, yet least applied behaviors one can engage in. Admitting wrong and asking to be forgiven has amazing potential to bring healing to damaged relationships and to keep good relationships from going south.

‘Confess your sins to one another that you might be healed and restored.” You never know what form that healing might take; for you or for that other.

After hearing his pastor preach about this subject a troubled young man said to him, “Pastor, you really got to me today. I have wronged another and I am ashamed to confess it to him or to try to put it right. You see, I build boats and the man I work for is an atheist. I have talked to him often about his need for Christ in his life and even urged him to come and hear you preach, but he just ridicules me. Now, I’m guilty of something that, if I admit it to him, will ruin my testimony.”

He went on to say that he started to build a boat for himself in his own yard. In this work, copper nails are used because they don’t rust in the water. Those nails are quite expensive and he had been carrying some home every night. He knew it was stealing, but he tried to rationalize it by telling himself that the boss had so many he would never miss them, and besides he was not being paid all that he thought he deserved.

But this sermon had brought him to face the fact that he was a thief. “But,” he said, “I cannot go to my boss and tell him what I have done is wrong or offer to pay for those I have used and return the rest. If I do, he will think I am a hypocrite. And yet those copper nails are digging into my conscience and I know I shall never have peace until I put this matter right.” The young man left at that point but the struggle went on for weeks.

Until one night he came back to the pastor and said, “Pastor, I admitted to my boss my wrongdoing and I am at peace at last.”
“What happened when you confessed to your employer what you had done?”
He said, “George, I always did think you were a hypocrite, but now I feel there really is something in this Christianity after all. Any religion that would make a dishonest workman come back and confess that he had been stealing copper nails and offer to settle for them must be worth having.’”

This pastor asked George if he might use the story, and was granted permission. Sometime afterward, he told it in another city and the next day a lady came up,
“Pastor, I have had ‘copper nails’ on my conscience too.”
“Why, surely, you are not a boat builder!”
“No, but I am a book-lover and I stole a book from a friend of mine who has far more than I could ever afford. I decided last night that I must get rid of those ‘copper nails,’ so I took the book back to her today and confessed my wrongdoing. I can’t tell you how relieved I am; she forgave me. I’m so thankful ‘copper nails’ are not digging into my conscience anymore.”

Anybody walk in here today feeling a tad bit heavy because you’re carrying copper nails?

Copper nails, whether new or old, cause soul sickness! And James says if we wish to be healed, we need to confess our sin in the hope that we will be forgiven!

I know, some of you are thinking what if I make myself vulnerable enough to go to that person I wronged and confess my wrongdoing to them and ask for their forgiveness and they refuse? Then that’s okay, we’ve done what we needed to do to make things right. If that other person, for whatever reason refuses to forgive, then in my book, we’ve handed the copper nails to them. We can go home and sleep at night knowing full well that we did our best to honor the teaching of scripture and remember the fact that we have already been forgiven by Christ Jesus, our Lord.

By the way, you have been forgiven by God, in Christ, haven’t you?

King Frederick the Great of Prussian was once touring a prison in Berlin. Everywhere he went, prisoners fell on their knees before him proclaiming their innocence, blaming someone else for their wrongdoing. Except for one man, who remained silent. The King asked him, “Why are you here?”
“Armed robbery, Your Majesty,” came the reply.
“And are you guilty?”
“Yes indeed, Your Majesty, I deserve my punishment.”
King Frederick then summoned the jailer and ordered him, “Release this guilty man at once. I will not have him kept here a minute longer; he might corrupt all the fine innocent people here.”

Some of us may still be prisoners in the jails of our own sinfulness. And like the King of Prussia, the King of Heaven desires nothing more than to release those of us who are willing to humble ourselves and admit to God, ‘I have wronged not only my fellow human being, I have wronged You. O Lord, please forgive me.’