Nearly twenty years ago, I found myself sitting on the edge of my bed with a shotgun on my lap. Thoughts were racing through my head. I had been hurt badly and wanted revenge. I knew that the people were meeting at Target in about an hour. My heart was racing as I played out the scenario in my head. I thought about where I could run to or where I could hide out. Then I started thinking about what it would be like to spend the rest of my life in prison. I started to put the gun back up, but all those thoughts of pain came rushing back. “They deserve it,” I reasoned with myself. The argument went back and forth. In a split second, I put the gun in the closet, ran to my car and drove an hour away. I called a friend to meet me, gave him my keys and told him not to give them back no matter what I said.
That night scared me to death. It’s the night I realized that every sin lies within me dormant waiting for the right circumstances to bring it out. I never thought I was capable of such a thing, but that mental battle was real and it was all I could do to keep from committing it. That night I began to pay more attention to my thoughts and where I let them go. I also started to keep myself from certain situations that I thought I was immune to. Guarding my heart became something I did rather than just something I read about in the Bible. If every sin was hiding in my heart, waiting for the right moment and circumstances to align, I needed to be more cautious.
David must have had one of those moments too. In Psalm 19:12, he prayed, “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults” (NLT). He found out that every one of us are capable of any sin, but he also knew that the remedy was knowing God’s Word and seeking Him for help. In verse 11, referencing God’s Word, he wrote, “They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.” The Bible is a lamp and a light (Psalm 119:105). It exposes hidden sins, faults and thoughts, as well as it shows you what to do. Jesus used the Word of God to keep from sinning as He was tempted. It’s a powerful weapon in our arsenal against sin, but you can only be equipped with it if you know it. Don’t fall prey to the hidden sins in your heart. Be proactive by putting God’s Word in your heart so that you won’t sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).
One of the things that leadership consultants like myself share with people is a Johari Window. It’s the image you see here. On the left, is where I like to start because many leaders like to control their image. The top left is known as The Arena. It’s the part of themselves that they show to others. It’s the things about themselves that they know and others know about them. Then just below that is The Facade. It’s what they know about themselves, but they don’t let other people know it. The fear is that if others knew this about you, they wouldn’t like you or follow you. The size of the windows depends on who you’re talking to. The more open book they are, the larger The Arena is and the smaller The Facade is. The less of themselves they share with others, the smaller The Arena is and the larger The Facade is.
The top right is very important. It’s called The Blind Spot. Each of us have blind spots in our lives. There are things that others see, but we don’t. The more open to criticism you are, the smaller this window is. The problem is that most people don’t invite others in to look at these in our life, so we go through life thinking that everything is ok until something happens and exposes something in our blindspot. We call that getting blindsided. Other people easily see our blind spots because they have an outside perspective on our life, but truly God has the best perspective. That’s why David constantly asked God to examine his life for hidden (blind spot) sins.
Psalm 26:2 says, “Lord, you can scrutinize me. Refine my heart and probe my every thought. Put me to the test and you’ll find it’s true” (TPT). The closer we get to Jesus, the more authority we give Him to look into the hidden closets and motives of our heart. We want Him to search us and know us to see if there’s wicked way in us (Psalm 139:23). We each have sins and things we’re tempted by (weaknesses) that we hide in our Facade. Those are things we confess in order to get forgiveness and freedom from. The hidden sins are the ones we also need exposed in order to gain freedom from them. Only by allowing God to examine us can they be brought to light though. The more we allow Him to scrutinize us, the more He can refine us, but it all starts with us praying and asking for it.
P.S. The bottom right is The Unknown. It’s your untapped potential that God has placed in you and will come out when the conditions are right. I’ll write more on this another time.