Could you imagine if your secret sin(s) were exposed to the public in the way Bill Clinton, Ted Haggard, or any other public figure? What would your reaction be if you knew that someone “had the goods on you” and was going “to expose you for the fraud you are”? Would you openly repent or deny the allegations?
I ask these questions to in no way justify these actions, but to get us to look at how hastily we judge others for their sins. And I say judge because we compare our sins to theirs and believe are to not be nearly as bad. No doubt God does the same thing, right? Whenever I do this, the Holy Spirit reminds me of a story Jesus once told:
“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.’” (Luke 18:9-14)
“…to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others…”—that’s the part Jesus always reminds me of, not so much the story, but the reason for it.
I often amaze myself at how I cannot understand why things are not going the way they are in my life and yet I have secret sin that I refuse to let good of and confess. Whether it’s harboring ill feelings towards someone, judging another person with scorn, lust, covetousness, whatever, I seem to think that I just need to fast and pray or read my Bible more and spend more time in my prayer closet when all the while the Holy Spirit is gently telling me to repent. I think this is true for our whole nation. We believe if we would just whitewash the empty tomb we’d be okay. Not so; it only invites disaster upon our nation. It’s always been that way:
“Now the king of Assyria went throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they had feared other gods, and had walked in the statutes of the nations whom the LORD had cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. Also the children of Israel secretly did against the LORD their God things that were not right, and they built for themselves high places in all their cities, from watchtower to fortified city. They set up for themselves sacred pillars and wooden images[a] on every high hill and under every green tree. There they burned incense on all the high places, like the nations whom the LORD had carried away before them; and they did wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger, for they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, ‘You shall not do this thing.’ Yet the LORD testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, ‘Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.’ Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God. And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them; they followed idols, became idolaters, and went after the nations who were all around them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them that they should not do like them. So they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone. Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. And the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them from His sight. For He tore Israel from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel from following the LORD, and made them commit a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them, until the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.” (2 Kings 17:5-23)
STOP! You go back and read that passage carefully with the eye of does it apply at all today anywhere in the world (I know the tendency to just skim Old Testament stories).
Okay, let me help (but I still want you to go back and read it again). A home that has secret sins is inviting trouble. A church that has secret sins is inviting strife. A city that has secret sins is inviting turmoil. A state that has secret sins is inviting calamity. A country that has secret sins is inviting judgment. All these entities listed are not things but people. They each are made up of people, and people who have secret sins are inviting God’s wrath. Matthew Henry puts it this way:
Those that bring sin into a country or family, bring a plague into it, and will have to answer for all the mischief that follows. And vast as the outward wickedness of the world is, the secret sins, evil thoughts, desires, and purposes of mankind are much greater. There are outward sins which are marked by infamy; but ingratitude, neglect, and enmity to God, and the idolatry and impiety which proceed therefrom, are far more malignant. Without turning from every evil way, and keeping God’s statutes, there can be no true godliness; but this must spring from belief of his testimony, as to wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness, and his mercy in Christ Jesus.
America’s issues are much deeper than debt, Democrats, and dollars. We are not only financially bankrupt; we are morally and spiritually bankrupt. As I wrote in an article at Boogai.net, “without a return to our national virtue, America is lost. I originally wrote that article as a blog post almost two years ago. I had some people say I was overreacting. Still believe that? Look around! Moses understood that we cannot live our lives as though there is no end to it and that God would hold us accountable:
“For we have been consumed by Your anger, and by Your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; we finish our years like a sigh. The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:7-12)
Beloved, we cannot continue to live our lives in defiance to God and then wonder why our nation is crumbling around us. We must repent and return to the God of the Holy Bible, not the God of our Happy Bubble we try to live inside. Moses warned us in Numbers 32:23 that we could “be sure your sin will find you out.”
Until we begin turning from every evil way, true repentance will never come. And it has to begin with me…
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers