After several weeks of hiatus, I am able to return to blogging as my schedule becomes more normalized. The last few weeks have been somewhat in flux with major travel and adjustments as my family return to the United States for a time of furlough. I am thankful for the patience of everyone during this time of transition. I have some big articles planned for next month and some future plans for the blog that I pray will be used of the Lord to impact lives. In the meantime, I am considering how to finish the last two weeks of March. In conversations over the last couple of weeks, there was a recurring theme that kept being addressed: hidden sin. Because it seems to be a topic needing to be discussed, it seems an appropriate topic to address.
There is a sense in which one can say that sin is never hidden, after all, God is omnipotent, knowing all things he already knows of our sin. There is another sense though, when sin is considered sufficiently hidden as long as those within one’s circle of influence are unaware of its presence. Of course, any believer will recognize that this is not a genuine representation of sin, but the acceptation of it points to some issues that need to be addressed regarding sin and specifically the propensity to hide it.
One of the issues with sin is our capacity to underestimate its severity and consequences. Sin is simply an offense to God, but often our standard for measuring sin is not God, but others. As a result, we have the capability of rationalizing sin as something mild, especially in comparison to those who are far worse sinners. But the guideline is not our fellow man, but our God.
One will not find in that understanding of sin, a phrase that excuses hidden sin. Because sin that remains hidden from public view also remains unpunished creating a mirage. It causes individuals to believe that this type of sin is harmless. Sin always has consequences, first by impacting our relationship with God and second by impacting our relationship with others (whether immediately or in the future). Without more observation and study, I cannot say this is absolute, but my observations incline me towards the following notion: our approach to sin has created a culture in which hiding sin is considered justifiable. There are two contributing factors:
- Relief of Sin: The first is our propensity to excuse sin. We undermine its consequences by brushing off the severity of sin and its impact.
- Reception of Sin: The second contributing factor is the way in which we react to sin. Too often the first reaction, especially when considered severe, is to discontinue contact and open condemnation.
The result is a culture of Christians who do not consider the weight of sin, and when it finally does bear its force, the inclination is to hide it in order to avoid the public condemnation.
Because sin is so serious, it warrants a serious response. And while there are an endless amount of discussion points on this topic, there are two aspects I find it necessary to focus on in light of the previous points. The first is simply to avoid excuses and instead come forth in confession and repentance. There is no alternative for dealing with sin. The second area is that our reception to sin must be one that is tempered with grace. Grace does not mean that confrontation of sin is avoided, but it does mean that the natural reaction is not the ultimate and harshest of the steps. Instead, it recognizes that overcoming sin is a process motivated by love, and thus requiring time, patience, and guidance.
Hidden sin is still sin. Simply adding the modifier ‘hidden’ does not change the viciousness of sin’s impact. Instead, it simply creates opportunity for it to grow into something worse. Therefore, we must deal with sin efficiently and effectively as alternatives to our attempts to keep it hidden from sight.
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