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.
Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash
Years ago, I found myself sitting in my room holding a loaded 12 gauge shotgun. I had two people in mind as I sat there knowing where and when they’d meet. At that moment, I realized that every sin lives in me. It’s only waiting for the right circumstances to be woken up. It scared me to death that I could be capable of such a thing. I put down the gun and drove for over an hour away. I then parked on the shoulder and sat there fighting the mental battle to not return home. I didn’t want to make an emotional decision that would affect the rest of my life.
David knew that struggle as well. The wrong circumstances plus the wrong thoughts equals the wrong action. In Psalm 19:12-13 he prayed, “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin” (NLT). He found that certain circumstances awoken hidden sins, and the more he thought about it, they became deliberate sins.
I think this is something we all struggle with at some point in our lives. We get caught up in a moment and time, combined with our emotions, our thoughts have the ability to run wild and direct our actions. A momentary weakness creates a lifetime of regret. A hidden sin in our heart, when woken up, can cause us to do or want to do the unthinkable. David prayed against those. He didn’t want to be controlled by thoughts that caused him to sin against God and others. That’s why he continued the prayer to go a step further.
He prayed, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” If thoughts control your actions, why not pray that your thoughts would be pleasing to God? What we think and meditate on grows in our lives. We can choose to entertain thoughts that develop hidden sins or we can choose to meditate on good things. Proactive prayer can keep us from the hidden sins lurking in our hearts.