I had been encouraging a friend, who was a Christian, but not going to church anywhere to find a church (and yes, I did recommend the church we were going to).  After a while, he told me that they had found a church and he had a question.  It seemed that in order to become a member of this particular church, you were required to confess ALL your sins to an official of that church (whether a Deacon, Elder, Staff Pastor – I forget).  The rationale was twofold; the confessor would then determine your (the confessee) fitness for membership AND it would ensure all your sins would be forgiven.  He asked if that was what was meant in James 5:16 (ESV)  “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” 

I asked what he thought would happen if he happened to forget one or two.  He was told those sins would go unforgiven.  I then asked if he had previously confessed (some) sins was he already forgiven of those and could he leave those out?  Apparently not.  He had to go through his entire life and reveal all to this person (anyone want to sign up for this?).  Finally, I asked what he thought of the idea.  He said he was not really comfortable doing this, especially with someone he does not know and so that is why he asked.  I told him that I was pretty sure that from the moment he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins – they were forgiven; past, present, and future.  I told him that I was not interested in exactly what his sins were and further was not inclined to tell him about mine.  I suggested that this may not be the best place for him to go.  He found another (better) church (though not the one I was on staff at).

I believe in the power of confession and forgiveness, but that you need to be careful about what you confess and to whom.  God does not expect us to remember every single thing we have done wrong.  You will also find as you walk with Him longer, the whole idea of what sin is changes.  There are times when I think of stupid things that I have done in my life (there are lots), that I ask God if we have dealt with this item before and if not, would He please include this in the list of my forgiven sins.

He has never refused me.