Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Psalm 51:5-6 NKJV
Being truthful in my head is very hard. I decide what I want because I want it. Then I pretend I really want it for another reason, a “good”, acceptable reason, a “righteous” reason. I deceive myself, but almost no one else. God wants me to tell the truth to myself. If I read the Bible and see all the “good guys” as me and all the “bad guys” as someone else, I’m missing everything. The Bible is a mirror to show me who I really am.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:22-25 NKJV
Most of the Bible heroes were flawed! Abraham lied and let another man take his wife to save his skin. David got another man’s wife pregnant and then killed the man to cover it up. Jacob’s name meant deceiver and he lived up to it. Noah got drunk and exposed himself. Moses was a murderer. Peter, the “rock” of faith, denied Jesus and called down curses on himself to keep himself from suffering Jesus’ fate. Paul ruthlessly murdered men, women and children who would not betray Jesus.
If God can work with a crowd like that, and turn them into role models for us, do you think He can work with someone like me? or you? Well, not if I lie to myself and tell myself I’m really not so bad, and nobody’s perfect, and my good outweighs my bad, and who are you to talk and… and… and….
Jesus “redefined” sin so that no one would feel left out:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire….“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Jesus, Matthew 5:21- 22, 27-28 NKJV
God desires truth in the inner parts. Before Jesus can cleanse me of my sin I have to admit I have sin for Him to cleanse. If I deny the true motives for my actions and cover it up with “righteous lies” Jesus can’t help me. I have to be ruthlessly honest within myself.
Okay, so if I’m honest with myself, humble myself and agree with God that I have rebelled against Him, what do I get?
Peace with God. And peace within myself. And the ability to see and treat others differently. More compassion, less judgement, less demands. Jesus grants us forgiveness and grace (i.e. kindness we don’t deserve) and we can pass it along to those who hurt us. We absorb the sting of their attacks, and we offer them kindness and understanding in return. This isn’t natural, it’s supernatural. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit who works through you as you allow Him to work through you. This fulfills the second half of the verse: And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
To help with the process of confession you may want to ask someone you trust if you can tell them your sins as you confess them to God. This takes guts and I haven’t done it much. I will report back to you after I have talked with my accountability partner.
Pastor Dr. Charles F. Stanley observes, “Obedience always brings blessing”. And Jesus said, “The truth will set you free”. May God grant me and you the grace to always confess our sins, so that we can reap the blessings and freedom Jesus always wants to give us.