Okay, suppose you're doing a good job leading a small group. You're building relationships among group members, people seem to be growing closer to God, and everything seems to be going swimmingly, when suddenly, Whammo!—one of your group members (or even your co-leader) confesses that they are struggling with a secret sin. Now what do you do?
Well, for starters, the title of this article is not the suggested response. :)
It's important to recognize that confession of sin is a good thing. You shouldn't assume your group is under some sort of spiritual attack. One of the aims of our small groups is (or should be) to create a safe environment where people can grow closer to God. Well, growing closer to God often involves the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the need to repent of sin. If someone's confessing, it means you've done a good job leading your group and you should give yourself a pat on the back. (Okay, you can actually give God the credit, but you get the point.)
So, what sort of sins am I talking about? Not the "Oops! I messed up and said a bad word today" kinds of sin. I'm referring to serious sin patterns in people's lives that they've been convicted of and that they need to deal with. This can also include secret sins that people have been silently struggling with for years.
- "I'm addicted to pornography."
- "I'm anorexic."
- "I'm sleeping with my boyfriend."
- "I struggle with homosexuality."
- "I demean and belittle others to make myself feel better."
The Spirit has decided it's time for them to bring their sins into the light and deal with them, and you are the lucky person who's been chosen to help them ...