Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
Bonhoeffer says the pious isolation of not confessing our sins to each other is 'the last stronghold of self- justification.'(p.112), because the root of all sin is pride.
If we never admit to out short-comings, if we don't own up to our failures, if we never apologise and ask forgiveness of those we hurt, we can try to maintain the appearance of being pretty good people. We can maintain the opinion of our relative innocence.
Yeah, I've done some dumb things, but at least I'm not like that guy over there. No regrets. Live and learn. In this proud isolation we are not free; there is no peace in being alone.
Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. (p.112)
And so God gives us community, gives us a brother.
our brother breaks the circle of self-deception. A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins everything remains in the dark. (p.116)
So, we should be so thankful to God, for the gift of Christian brothers and sisters to whom we can confess, and have insurance against self-deception and assurance of forgiveness.
Well, that's Book Group II. It's been a great book to read, and I have benefited a lot by thinking through these different aspects of community.