Here are three ways we attempt to hide our sin rather than exposing it to the light of Christ.
The Mad Scientist: Talking About Other Sins
One way we attempt to hide our sin is by talking about other sins or “sins.”
The Mad Scientist cooks up crazy concoctions to busy the minds of other believers and distract everyone, including himself, from the real problem. He raises strange ethical questions focused on some point that is often not immediately clear from Scripture or involves exasperatingly detailed hypotheticals. This approach to sin is not so much a person straining at gnats as it is his asking about whether or not some gnats were carnivorous prior to what happened in Genesis 3. Meanwhile a camel is eating his insides.
For example, imagine a man asking his accountability group a convoluted and uncomfortable question regarding his relationship with his wife while covering the fact that he is committing adultery. All of the “smaller” sins he confesses or asks about are merely smoke and mirrors.
The Discernment Blogger: Talking About Others’ Sins
Another way we attempt to hide our sin is by focusing on the sins of others.
The Discernment Blogger is quick to notice if someone was not wearing a tie to church…four weeks ago. He’s also concerned about the crowd that individual was seen with last week. They weren’t wearing ties either. Of course, it is not a sin to not wear a tie, but not wearing a tie could be an indication that something deeply sinful is going on. Right? The Discernment Blogger may break into the tie-less man’s house to see whether or not the man even owns any ties, and he is going to check for anything else that may be suspiciously tucked away in the closets or attic as well. Expect an irritating interrogation to follow the invasive investigation.
The Discernment Blogger believes half the Christians in the world are wolves dressed like sheep and tries to rally the villagers with torches when he should be asleep. Here there be heretics. The Discernment Blogger is pleased to publicize the piece of pipe tobacco found in somebody’s third drawer that may indicate a heroine addiction. However, he’s also happy nobody is talking about the mountain of jealousy and anger hanging out of his left eye socket or the other sin he hopes to hide through his pedantic pride.
The Slippery Salesperson: Talking About Obsessive Sins
Finally, we attempt to hide our sin by incessantly talking about it in the abstract.
The Slippery Salesperson can sell people on their sin. He does not even have to single anyone out. He is just focusing on various sins in the abstract. There is nothing wrong with what he says, and some people are thankful that somebody is finally addressing such difficult topics.
Although he most likely does not realize it, he says some really convicting things about everybody’s deepest, darkest sins. And then he says them again. And…again. Then people start to notice that one sin in particular sticks out. And he talks about that sin again. And again. Some people start to wonder who he is talking about, and they are right to do so. He is talking about his own sin. He thinks that if he can talk boldly about his sin in a public setting then people will never guess he is enslaved to it. That is what he wants everyone to think. He hopes to simultaneously hide and justify his sin without turning to Christ.
Who Are You?
This post addresses three ways we attempt to hide our sin rather than exposing it to the light of Christ. There are many other ways in which we might attempt to hide our sin. Moreover, there are many ways in which we wrongly respond to sin, whether our own or the sins of others. But that is a topic for another post.
The self-referential difficulty of this post is not lost on me, but the post should be taken as generally true and thus not necessarily applicable to itself. (We can still talk about sin!) Each of these categories have described me at some point in my life, though not the particular details in the examples. We may have all acted like the Mad Scientist, Discernment Blogger, or Slippery Salesperson at some point in our lives. We should use that realization as an opportunity to better minister to one another through confrontation, counseling, encouragement, and/or prayer. We should do so, of course, after having confessed our sin and resisted our temptation to hide it.
The light of Christ not only exposes our sin, it extinguishes it. While there is shame in our sin, there is none in repentance. Jesus Christ came to save sinners like us, so we can confidently come to him.
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.