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"Would anyone know
That my socks had holes,
When I went for my Sunday walk?
Not really, I’d surmise.
But if my toes poked through
The holes in my shoes,
Everyone would know.
And I’d be quite surprised."
I first wrote those lines several years ago as I was looking into the amazing efforts that people (especially Christians) go through trying to keep sins, crimes and/or other unacceptable behavior secret from their peers. I suppose we began this behavior early in life, perhaps as a toddler, hiding actions from parents, siblings and teachers. And by now we have refined our techniques, so that they have become a real art form. We have become pretty good at it.
Someone may ask if there is such a thing as a secret sin? Yes! At least I think so. In certain cases, a person might not know they have done a wrong. They may not even be aware that some action, word or other activity had been perceived as being over the line. Lest we become too judgmental, we need to realize the cause may be too difficult for most of us to diagnose. It might include psychological or mental issues, or just carelessness. I call this a secret to only one person. Everybody else, including God, knows about it. Jesus addresses something like this when he admonished them not to be guilty of washing only the outside of the dish, while leaving the inside dirty. (Matthew 23:25)
Another kind of secret sin is one that is successfully hidden from all other eyes. It might be inward, such as a prejudice or some hatred. It could be something one uses to alter the mind, or an activity that distorts the body. Something engaged in behind closed doors, or in the dark of the night. Something your neighbors wouldn’t expect, or your family wouldn’t dream you were involved in. Keeping our sins secret; we get good at it, don’t we?
Then there are those sins that only one or two others know we are guilty of. A few might be suspicious, and might try to snoop around a bit, but it stays hidden from all except for the partner or the victim. And they might have been falsely led to believe they are responsible. So, unwittingly, they help the perpetrator maintain his or her secrecy, even though they appear to the rest of us like a dust-free, polished white casket on the outside. But on the inside.... (Matthew 23:27)
Really, I don’t think it matters if we believe our sins are hidden, or they are open to the public; there is no difference between the two, and the spiritual consequences are the same.
The Bible teaches that there are no secrets from God (I Samuel 16:7), because he looks into our heart, and not just how and what we display visibly to those around us.
But don’t despair. That’s why Jesus came to die on the cross – to offer us a way for our sins to be forgiven. (John 14:6)
If you’re not a believer, it’s fairly simple to begin a personal relationship with him. Admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and confess to someone else your newfound faith. Your life will be changed forever.
If you are a believer, but somehow have allowed sin to creep into your life, remember that we have a great promise from God: “If I confess my sin, he is faithful and just to forgive me of my sin, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)