"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16
Why are my sins important to anyone else - unless I happen to sin against them? James seems to indicate that my sins could be a problem to you and and yours to me because the church is a body - The Body of Christ!
I guess the first question to ask is, "What is the Church?"
As I mentioned, the church is the Body of Christ, but the name for the Church in Scripture is "eklessia". It literally means "called out". The Church is the Body of the "called out ones".
Called out from what? Called out to what?
Being the Body of Christ you can easily reason that the Church would be called out from sin. Don't you think that is reasonable? So, if you are called out from sin and you continue to sin how does that impact the Body? If I continue to sin or if I sin against you, doesn't that impact the Body?
Being the Body of Christ you can also logically assume that we are called out to God. I mean, who is it that would call us out of the world other than God? So, if the Church is called out from sin and to God, how do you think sin affects that?
Being the Body of Christ we are called together. You are called out and I am called out and together we are the Church. So, if we are called out together how does sin impact that relationship? If I sin against you doesn't that create some stress or tension in our relationship? Of course. And vice versa.
Think about what sin does. Sin separates us from God. How can that be good for the Church that is called out by God for God?
Sin also complicates. Once Adam and Eve sinned their lives got immediately complicated. Sin harms relationships, impairs judgment, stirs up guilt and alienates us from God. How does complicating life enhance the Church? It doesn't!
Just those two problems caused by sin are damaging enough to the Church to make the case that sin needs to be dealt with within the Church if the Church is to fulfill its mission as the Body of Christ called out of the world.
James prescribes drastic action to deal with sin. Confess them to each other and prayer for each other. When you know what my sins are and I know what your sins are then I can pray specifically for God to strengthen you. I can also do something else significant, I can hold you accountable. You can hold me accountable. We will each know how seriously the other is dealing with our sins. Transparency and accountability are effective weapons against sin in the church. If I am intentionally standing against my sin and you are standing with me against my sin, doesn't it make sense that I will be stronger in resisting sin?
Sin prospers in the darkness but whithers in the sunlight (Sonlight) of truth. James says expose it to the light of truth and shine the searchlight of accountability on it and you will be healed! When you are healed and I am healed guess what happens to the Church? Health!
Disease develops in the darkness but health happens are in the light of truth.