Let’s look at a few verses that speak of confessing our sins.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” For the believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the wonderful privilege of coming to the Lord and, with a repentant heart, confess all our sins to Him.  He will forgive us and He will cleanse us from the contamination that sin has upon us.  We read in 1 John 1:7 that, “…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”  This is speaking of our salvation, where the blood of the Jesus Christ cleanses us from the PENALTY of sin.  1 John 1:9 speaks of us, as believers, being cleansed from the CONTAMINATION of sin in our lives.  We rely upon the faithfulness and righteousness of God to forgive and cleanse us each time we come to Him in humility and repentance.  It is to the One who can forgive our sins that we confess our sins.

Let’s consider an incident in the life of David.  He wrote in Psalm 32:3-4, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.”  David realized his sin, but did not confess his sin to the Lord.  In that state, he became depressed and felt the convicting hand of the Lord upon Him.  David was miserable having sin in his life, but not confessing it to the Lord.  Now let’s read verse 5, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”  What wonderful release and peace that David felt after acknowledging and confessing his sin before God.  Immediately upon his confession, David was forgiven.

Now let’s read a verse concerning confessing to others.   James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  While we are told to confess our ‘sins’ in 1 John 1:9, here we are told to confess our ‘faults’ to one another.  This word can more accurately be translated as ‘offenses’ and it refers to offenses that we may have committed against someone.  If we have offended, or sinned against someone, we need to confess that sin to that person.  We should go to that person, tell them that we realize we have committed a sin against them (such as stealing from them, lying about them, or treating them unfairly, just as a few examples), and ask them to forgive us.  We have an example of the appropriateness and seriousness of this given to us in Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”  To confess and be reconciled to others is so important to our Christian testimony!

You also asked, “what if it’s not something that we are comfortable with confessing?”  I dare say that the only reason we would feel uncomfortable in confessing our sins to the Lord or personal offenses to one another is PRIDE.  How dangerous pride is in the life of a believer.  Proverbs 16:18 tells us that, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”  The Lord tells us in James 4:10 to, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”  It is pride that will keep you from confessing.  Humble yourself.  Confess your sins to the Lord.  Confess your faults to one another.  Then you will experience that same sense of forgiveness and peace that David did when he confessed his sin.  (185.5)