Have you ever done something wrong and then tried to cover it up? Of course you have. You’re human. There’s something inside of us that think if we cover it up, no one will know and it will go away. I’ve been trying it since I was a kid. In fact, my friends and I once started a fire when we were young. When it started smoking a lot, we tried to cover it up…with dried up pine needles. The fire roared even bigger. Instead of asking an adult for help, we went to my friend’s brother who was only two years older. By the time he realized he couldn’t put it out either, a neighbor saw the blaze and called the fire department who came and prevented a huge forest fire. By then, there was still significant damage we could have avoided had we confessed sooner.
I’ve found that people are more willing to forgive your shortcomings when you’re open and honest about them. But there’s this voice in our heads that creates doubts and insecurities in us. It tells us, “If they knew this about you, they would never talk to you.” When we listen to that voice, we choose to cover up our sins, failures and shortcomings which compounds the problem. We know it doesn’t work, but we try anyway thinking we might get away with it this time. The temptation to cover things up is such a challenge that it’s often more tempting than the temptation to sin. The problem is that sin covered up is unconfessed sin.
Proverbs 28:13 says, “If you cover up your sin you’ll never do well. But if you confess your sins and forsake them, you will be kissed by mercy” (TPT). We confess our sins to God for forgiveness. We confess them to others for healing. We need to get better at showing people mercy for their confessed sins. That’s the only way to break this cycle of covering up sins. We all sin, and we all need mercy and grace from each other. Jesus said it was the merciful who will obtain mercy. Let mercy start with you today.
If you have social media, you’ve probably noticed a couple of different types of people. One airs all their laundry on there for the whole world to see. Another type uses the platform to boast about the bad things they’ve done as if they were a badge of honor. Yet another doesn’t put any of that out there, but you hear the gossip about their life in other ways. I have a confession to make. I tend to judge these people in my heart (and sometimes out loud) based on their behavior. I forget that these things are a result of their brokenness and need for healing, and I steer clear of them or block their posts. I initially don’t see them as a cry for help or grace, and I have to be reminded of that fact often. Hopefully you don’t suffer from this as well.
When I read the story of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well, I can’t help but think how Jesus knew her dirty laundry and still offered her grace. In John 10:4 Jesus said, “If you only knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you life-giving water” (GNT). He didn’t make fun of her for having been married five times or shame her because she was living with a man who wasn’t her husband. Instead He offered her forgiveness and healing through His living waters. She went and brought everyone from her town out to meet Jesus. As they approached, Jesus tells his disciples, “You have a saying, ‘Four more months and then the harvest.’ But I tell you, take a good look at the fields; the crops are now ripe and ready to be harvested!”
How many times have you and I looked at the harvest and saw their brokenness as an excuse to withhold grace? We think they’re either too far gone, not ready yet or we don’t feel comfortable sharing with them. We need to remember Jude 1:22-23 when we begin to have these thoughts. It says, “Keep being compassionate to those who still have doubts, and snatch others out of the fire to save them. Be merciful over and over to them, but always couple your mercy with the fear of God. Be extremely careful to keep yourselves free from the pollutions of the flesh” (TPT). What the broken people around us need is the compassion and mercy of Christ. They don’t need our jokes or the names we call them.
Lord, open my eyes to see the brokenness of others and to have compassion. Give me the courage to share your grace with them the way you showed it to the woman at the well. Open my eyes to see the harvest that’s around me today. Use me as an instrument of your grace to save those who are perishing. Forgive me for failing to do this in the past. Amen.
When I was a teenager, I got a summer job working construction. It was hard work to do in the Texas summer heat. I got to see how houses are built. Everything had to be built in order. The foundation crew had to set the form for the foundation, then the plumbers would come put their pipes in, the concrete would then be poured, the framers showed up after it cured, electrical would then show up before the dry wall and so on. Each crew had a part to play and a time to do their work so the house could be move in ready.
Our lives are constantly under construction as well. There are things going on that have to happen in order for God to build His master plan in us. Just like building a house, there can be delays. Things don’t always go according to the plan the way we think it should either. Working in construction and being under construction can be difficult and trying at times. The great news is that God is still working in you and in me. He still has a plan for our lives and He’s working it out. He’s not just building our lives as individuals either. We are being built together as one.
Ephesians 2:22 says, “In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit” (GNT). We are each a part of the same construction project. Knowing that, we need to give each other some grace. We’re all under construction and we’re all being built together. Your life may be farther along in the process than someone else’s. Be a person who helps them through the processes you’ve been through. Look for ways to edify others instead of slowing their progress. We’re all a work on progress. Let’s give God and others patience because we need it too.
One of my biggest pet peeves while driving is people who cross the double white line to get into the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane. Every time I see someone do it, I say, “Where is a cop when you need one?” Or I yell out, “That’s illegal! You’re breaking the law!” There is a place to get on and off of the HOV lane every few miles, and people who don’t do it right deserve tickets.
I tell you that because as I was stewing over it one day, I was reminded of the story in John 8. There was a woman caught breaking the law, and the religious police brought her to Jesus. They said, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (NLT) He began drawing in the sand until they demanded an answer. Jesus finally answered them by saying, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” One by one they dropped their stones and walked away.
What I didn’t tell you about my story with people crossing the double white line was that I’m usually driving around 80 mph in a 65 zone. I’m just as guilty of breaking the law as they are and just as deserving of a ticket. However, I find it easy to justify my speeding by saying, “I’m just keeping up with traffic.” We’re all pretty good at justifying our own sins and throwing stones at people who sin differently than we do. These people had stones in their hands ready to throw. They were just waiting for Jesus to give them permission.
There’s been a lot of debate and speculation as to what Jesus drew in the sand that day. I like to think he wrote out the word, “Grace”. Each of them, like each of us, had needed God’s grace for something they had done that deserved the penalty of sin. It’s time we offered grace instead of stones to people who sin differently than we do. It’s easy to condemn, but Christlike to offer grace. Those double white lines on the freeway have become a self righteous check for me. I’m learning to drop the stones in my hands, and I hope that you are too.